According to Saskatchewan’s premier, the province will end the current test of negative test and proof of vaccination policy “in the not-too-distant future.”
Scott Moe made this announcement in a message on Twitter in connection with rallies being held across the country against a federal policy that requires truck drivers entering Canada from the United States to be fully vaccinated.
This is the second time within a week that the premier of Saskatchewan has made a public comment about the potential removal of the provincial proof of vaccination policy in the near future.
Earlier this week, Moe told a CJME / CKOM radio host that he thought requiring proof of vaccination had “for the most part run its course.”
“It increased our vaccination rates tremendously, but I think we’re getting to a point now where those that are not vaccinated likely aren’t going to get vaccinated,” he said in a chat Wednesday with radio host John Gormley.
According to the premier, the province needs to “have a discussion” about proof of vaccination requirements “sometime this month.”
In response to Moe’s comments on Wednesday, Saskatchewan epidemiologist Nazeem Muhajarine said on Thursday he was surprised by this message.
“This is really not the time to be talking about lifting proof of vaccination policy,” said the professor of community health and epidemiology from the University of Saskatchewan.
Other COVID-19 restrictions and policies have already been dropped recently.
On Thursday, the Saskatchewan government announced its self-isolation policy was changing for people who test positive to five days regardless of vaccination status. The province has also removed the requirement for residents to self-isolate if they are a close contact.
Saskatchewan’s public health orders, including mandatory masking, proof of vaccination and mandates for government workers, are set to expire on Feb. 28.
Today, trucker rallies are being held at many locations across the country, including on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and in various communities in Saskatchewan.
Here is my message to Saskatchewan and Canadian truckers: pic.twitter.com/LifQ2FK23b
In Moe’s statement on Saturday, the prime minister voiced his support for the rallies’ call to end the federal mandates for unvaccinated truckers.
“Vaccination is not reducing transmission,” said Moe.
“An unvaccinated trucker does not pose any greater risk of transmission than a vaccinated trucker.”
While Moe said vaccination does not keep people from contracting COVID-19, immunization “does prevent most people from becoming seriously ill.”
Sask. opposition leader says Moe spreads “misinformation”
NDP Leader Ryan Meili said he was most struck about the Premier’s statement regarding the impact of vaccines on transmission or infection.
“That’s simply not the case,” Meili said in an interview with CBC.
“Even though vaccines are less effective with Omicron, if you are someone who had a vaccine, you are still far less likely to be infected or to transmit to someone else if you are infected.”
Meili said everyone wants public restrictions to go away, but right now it is not safe to remove COVID-19 measures.
“We all want to move beyond this as a necessity,” said the Saskatchewan opposition leader.
“But he’s willing to do it while it will endanger Saskatchewan’s people’s lives, and he’s doing that for purely political reasons.”