“Just go get your shot.”

It’s Cindy Ducherer’s message to anyone who hasn’t received their COVID-19 vaccine yet.

“I’m nervous for my kids who aren’t vaccinated, to bring (COVID-19) home,” she said.

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She said she’ll stay away from someone she knows isn’t vaccinated — and a new poll shows about half of Canadians agree with her.

But it looks like that won’t be as easy to do as it once seemed, because Saskatchewan’s vaccination rates have declined over the past month, for both first and second doses.

Research from the Angus Reid Institute, a research group, shows 53 per cent of Canadians who have received at least one dose so far say they’re likely to spend time around those who remain unvaccinated.

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It also shows Canadians are similarly split on whether it’s alright to ask people whether they’ve been vaccinated.

49 per cent said it’s totally fine and just 22 per cent believe it’s too personal of a question. The remaining 29 per cent told the pollsters it depends on whom they are asking.

Ducherer said she’s willing to ask.

She told Global News her family still abides by the public health guidelines to stay safe, despite the fact the provincial government lifted them 10 days ago.

And she said her family and almost everyone she knows is vaccinated.

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But she’s still nervous.

“We’re not walking around with ‘I’m vaccinated’ (signs)… so you’ll never know who isn’t,” she said.

The slowdown is taking place despite the Saskatchewan Health Authority saying it’s easy to get your shot.

“We have lots of available appointments available throughout the week and the weekends,” said Laveena Tratch, the Vaccine Chief for the Regina Integrated Health Incident Command Centre.

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“So if you decide you want to come down today, the chances are being able you’ll be able to get an appointment.”

University of Saskatchewan epidemiologist Nazeem Muhajarine said asking about someone’s vaccine status shouldn’t be an issue.

But he did say unvaccinated and vaccinated people shouldn’t mix.

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“Unvaccinated people really are the ones shouldn’t be mixing with anybody out there,” he told Global News, “because they are the ones who are vulnerable to catching a more contagious variant, like the Delta variant.”

He attributes the current slowdown and hesitancy to three C’s – confidence, convenience and complacency.

On the first point, he explained many holdouts aren’t confident vaccines are safe.

For the second, he said many people don’t think it’s easy enough to get a their shot(s).

“The people who will search for an appointment for hours, call ten different pharmacies to get an appointment as soon as they can get a shot, (the) people who stay in their car in a drive-thru for three hours… that time has passed us by now.”

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Finally, he said many people have become complacent with the pandemic, partly because there’s no immediate payoff for getting inoculated.

“There’s really no incentive to get a vaccine right now,” he said, “because everything is open.

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He said he’d like to see 90 per cent of Saskatchewan residents get their first dose, because he expects only 75 per cent of people will get their second, which is not quite enough to reach herd immunity.

He estimates that will occur at 80 per cent inoculation.

And it appears Saskatchewan may not reach that mark.

Muhajarine tracks the attitudes of Saskatchewan residents towards COVID-19 vaccines.

He co-authored a paper, which was published on July 5, that shows 76 per cent of respondents 18-years-old and older said they had been or were willing to get vaccinated.

According to a government release, 74 per cent of eligible residents (those 12-years-old and up) have received their first dose by Monday.

Muhajarine’s research shows 11 per cent of respondents said they will not get inoculated while 13 per cent said they had not yet decided.

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He told Global News political leaders and public health officials need to be very blunt to get that 13 per cent of people to get their shots.

And he said it’s up to the friends of hesitant people to convince them to get vaccinated.

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“We have to reach them through their friends, through faith leaders, even people who they play hockey with,” he said.

Ducherer said she hopes everyone gets inoculated.

“People need to realize that being vaccinated is the way to go,” she said.

“Polio and typhoid and all those diseases, we have vaccinations for that. And it seems like it stopped the curve. So I wish more people would understand that being vaccinated is the best and right thing to do.”

— with files from Daniella Ponticelli





© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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