SASKATOON -- The Mayor of Creighton says people are looking forward to the rollout of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the north.

"A lot of northern people in the communities are lacking of services,” Bruce Fidler said.

“To get the vaccine up north, to get the people inoculated, it will be a big bonus and very important we feel. We’re looking forward to it.”

4,900 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are arriving in Saskatchewan this week, joining the Pfizer vaccine as part of Phase 1 of the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) rollout plan.

The Moderna vaccine does not need to be stored in ultra-cold temperatures like the Pfizer vaccine, allowing for better distribution, the SHA said in a news release.

“This vaccine allows us to continue with our Phase 1 plans to target residents where they are living and working, whether in long term care and personal care homes, in northern and remote communities and in health care staff outside our major centres.”

Widespread vaccine access to the general population will be part of Phase 2 which is set to start in April.

Fidler, who is also chair of New North, a advocacy group for northern Communities, said that he is still to hear about details about where and when vaccines will come to Creighton.

But he is aware that many factors are involved with a project this big.

“They are extremely busy, they’ve got a lot of things to deal with. It’s understandable. As far as I’m concerned they have been doing a very good job up to this point and will continue to do a good job.”

Georgina Jolibois, Mayor of La Loche, said she is looking forward to the vaccine coming to people in her community, although she is not quite sure when or how it will happen.

“The vaccine rollout in Saskatchewan as well in Canada is so new. We in the north, especially here in La Loche, we don’t have all the information. It is so preliminary that we don’t know what we’re getting,” Jolibois told CTV.

“It is Christmas holidays, and I know the health region, and the physicians, and the doctors are working really hard to make sure we get through the holidays. Many people are welcoming the news, but at the same time we are waiting patiently.”

Jolibois said she has reached out to health authorities to receive more information on the vaccine such as side-effects and when they will be receiving their shipment, but hasn’t heard back yet.

Jolibois said that although she does have her concerns and still has questions to be answered, she is optimistic about the impact the vaccine will have.

“There is a level of hope attached to that, and many people are happy that there would be an end game, hopefully there is an end game very soon going forward.”

Now that optimism is on the rise in places like La Loche and Creighton, Jolibois said now is the time to remain vigilant and not become complacent.

“We are asking people to stay safe, and to continue to follow the precautions. We do our part to stay safe because we do love our communities and we do love our family and friends,” Jolibois said.

“All of us, leadership and various ministries must continue do our part to educate our people and explain what we can.”