Teacher's death pressures Saskatchewan government to prioritize vaccinating educators

REGINA — The death of an influential Cree teacher due to COVID-19 has sent a shockwave through Saskatchewan politics and increased pressure on the government to prioritize educators in its vaccination plan.

Victor Thunderchild, who was 55, died in Prince Albert over the weekend and family members say he was infected with the virus while working at a high school in the city.

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Thunderchild’s last tweet sent earlier this month was directed to Premier Scott Moe calling for all teachers to get vaccinated.

Moe says he's heard many stories about Thunderchild's influence on students, teachers and the community.

He says his Saskatchewan Party government will be looking at priority groups for vaccinations in coming days when the general age eligibility drops to people 40 and older.

Opposition NDP leader Ryan Meili says Thunderchild spoke up for teachers in his final days, but Moe refuses to listen.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2021.

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