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Saskatchewan is to release details today on how it will vaccinate older residents in the north against the novel coronavirus.

The province’s health minister and chief medical health officer are to provide a briefing about the rollout of the Moderna vaccine, which is set to arrive in Saskatchewan this week.

Before Christmas, officials said they expected to receive 4,900 doses.

The province planned to use the Moderna vaccine to immunize residents in northern Saskatchewan and remote communities because it’s easier to transport than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which needs ultracold storage.

So far, more than 2,300 health-care workers in Regina and Saskatoon have received a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Premier Scott Moe said last week that those living in long-term care facilities would also be among the first in line to get the Moderna shots.

The province recorded 208 new COVID-19 infections over Monday and Tuesday. Fewer than 1,300 tests were processed each of those days.

Officials also said another 10 residents have died from the virus and 175 people were in hospital.

Also, a Saskatchewan cabinet minister says he’s in California over the holidays to finalize the sale of a home.

Joe Hargrave says in a statement that he’s in Palm Springs to finish up selling personal property and move things back to Saskatchewan.

The Highways Minster and legislature member for Prince Albert Carlton says he made the decision to travel to “address personal business that I deemed necessary.”

His office says he left Saskatchewan on Dec. 22 and his return date depends on the sale of his property being completed.

Hargrave says he told the premier of his travel plans and will self-isolate upon his return to Canada.

Moe says in a separate statement that he told Hargrave he expects him to follow required public-health advice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Manitoba expects to receive 40,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses in January and will be changing its distribution plans.

Premier Brian Pallister says Manitoba will follow the lead of other provinces that are no longer holding back a stockpile for a second dose of vaccine, as supply chains have proven to be largely successful.

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require a second dosage.

The premier says the province will keep a smaller stockpile in case of supply-chain disruptions.

Front-line health-workers will still be the main priority for vaccinations in the first month of the new year.

Pallister says Manitobans need to remain vigilant and the next 90 days are critical to lessening the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“As we move into the new year, these vaccines are only going to be hitting a small percentage of the population,” Pallister said Wednesday.

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