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Flin Flon, Creighton plan to aid vaccination campaign as local rates lag behind

Vaccination rates are continuing to climb in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, but doses in Flin Flon, Creighton and Denare Beach are each well below provincial averages. Local leadership is planning to help raise dose numbers.
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Vaccination rates are continuing to climb in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, but doses in Flin Flon, Creighton and Denare Beach are each well below provincial averages. Local leadership is planning to help raise dose numbers.

The Flin Flon/Snow Lake/Cranberry Portage/Sherridon district, as of August 6, has a 73.8 per cent vaccine uptake rate. Just under three quarters of all residents have received at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the region. That is one of the lowest vaccination rates in the Northern Health Region (NHR), where seven districts have over an 80 per cent vaccine rate and only four districts have a lower rate than Flin Flon’s.

Flin Flon Mayor Cal Huntley was asked about Flin Flon’s vaccine numbers at the July 20 city council meeting, saying the City was in talks with the Northern Health Region (NHR) for a pair of initiatives - one to host drive-thru vaccine clinics, the other to host vaccinations later this summer near the former Extra Foods building at Flintoba Shopping Centre.

“We’ll try it. I encourage anybody who hasn’t taken the shot to please get on board. This is why the [case] numbers are dropping - because people are getting the vaccine,” said Huntley.

In Manitoba, more than 80 per cent of all eligible people have had a first dose, while 71.9 per cent have received a second dose. Saskatchewan has had less than 80 per cent of all people age 12 and over get a first dose and 63 per cent of all people age 12 and over get a second dose. As of August 6, the Flin Flon/Snow Lake/Cranberry Portage/Sherridon district is below the average rates of both provinces.

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan communities near Flin Flon are well below even the Flin Flon vaccine uptake rate. As of August 4, 62.5 per cent of eligible people in Creighton and in Flin Flon, Sask., have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 55.5 per cent have both doses. Only two age groups in the communities - people in their 60s and 70s - are at the province’s vaccination goal of 80 per cent, with only three age groups - people in their 60s, 70s and 80-plus - at the threshold for Saskatchewan’s reopening plan.

About half of Creighton and Flin Flon, Sask. residents ages 12-17, 18-29 and 40-49 have at least one dose, with barely 40 per cent of people in their 30s having had at least one shot.

When asked about the community’s vaccination rates at the July 28 Creighton town council meeting, Mayor Bruce Fidler said the Town would promote vaccinations in an effort to immunize more of the Town’s residents. In the past, vaccine clinics have been held with cooperation from the Town, including holding clinics at the Creighton Sportex and most recently, drive-thru clinics at the community’s four-way stop.

“Of course, we’d like to see those rates higher. We’re going to be promoting that as best as we can,” said Fidler.
“That’s basically all we can do, do our promotion and hopefully people will listen. We can’t force people, but we can keep bugging them.”

Things are lower in Denare Beach, where less than half of the community’s eligible residents are marked as having received vaccine doses. As of August 4, according to provincial data, just under 47.5 per cent of the community’s residents have had one dose, while just over 41 per cent have had two. No age groups in Denare Beach have hit the province’s vaccination goal, while only people in their 60s and 70s have hit the reopening threshold of 70 per cent.

Less than 40 per cent of people ages 12-17, 18-29, 30-39 and 40-49 in Denare Beach have had even one dose, while around half of people in their 50s have had at least one dose.

When asked what Fidler or Creighton leadership would do if asked to assist vaccination efforts by public health, the mayor was quick to encourage.

“We’ll be there. What do you need?” he said.