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Select residents can now receive an additional vaccine booster to protect against the current XBB. 1.5 strain of COVID-19, one of several circulating in the province.

Booster doses have been available since April 8 and will remain available until June 30, only to high-risk groups or individuals, provided it has been at least six months since their last vaccination for XBB. 1.5 or their last COVID-19 infection, according to a Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) news release issued Friday.

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Those eligible include anyone aged 65 and older or any adult residing in a long-term care facility, personal care home or congregate living setting that also houses residents over 65 years of age.

Anyone six months or older who is immunocompromised, due to immunosuppressive therapy or medical conditions, is also eligible.

Beginning July 1, eligibility for the XBB. 1.5 vaccine will narrow to only immunocompromised children aged six months to four years of age, the release noted.

Vaccinations are available at any clinics operated by the SHA, Indigenous Services Canada or Northern Inter-tribal Health Authority, or at participating pharmacies.

COVID-19 has accounted for 16 per cent of all respiratory related hospitalizations between March 24 and April 6, according to a recent report from the Ministry of Health.

Test positivity continues to hover around 4.6 per cent, with the highest rate of laboratory-confirmed positive cases in individuals over the age of 65, at almost half.

Approximately 11 per cent of Saskatchewan’s population under age 65 and 52 per cent over 65 have been vaccinated for COVID-19, including at least one booster dose, since fall 2023.

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