Dr. Alex Wong (MD) is an infectious diseases specialist and associate professor in the Department of Medicine. (Submitted photo)

Dr. Alex Wong on Sask's rush to drop Covid rules

As Saskatchewan drops its proof-of-vaccine requirements and masking orders, doctors and nurses are angry and frustrated, as they care for record numbers of COVID patients.

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The infectious disease specialist at Regina General Hospital said Saskatchewan politicians ignore medical advice in their rush to drop Covid restrictions.

Some, Wong said, have spread half-truths and misinformation about the Omicron variant, and about the vaccine’s efficacy.

Roughly half of adults in Saskatchewan have received a third Covid booster, something Wong said makes a 'colossal' difference with Omicron.

"If I could pick one thing to leave in place. It would be the proof of vaccine program," said Wong. Without it, he said  "there's not going to necessarily be that sense of urgency and motivation."

The associate professor of infectious diseases at the College of Medicine said variants will keep emerging, as the virus circulates through unvaccinated populations in other parts of the world.

Wong said public health messaging on masks and vaccines must be clear, and it must be driven by scientific principles, rather than political fear.

"It's not really right to let society just forget about people who are on the fringes, who are marginalized, who are medically frail or immunocompromised or vulnerable or kids under five," said Wong. "That's just not okay. That's not what a caring, functional society does.”

Wong said Saskatchewan's public health message must be clear: get vaccinated.

"That is the one most sustainable way out of all of this towards some normalcy,” Wong said.

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