Manitoba’s premier and health minister toured the province’s second COVID-19 vaccination “super-site” Wednesday, as health officials say vaccination efforts have so far seen more than 12,000 shots administered across the province.
Brian Pallister and Heather Stefanson were in Brandon to take a look at the latest vaccination clinic set to open Monday at the Keystone Centre.
“This is a significant step in our commitment to establish super-sites in urban areas to reach as many Manitobans as possible with life-saving vaccines,” Pallister said in a statement sent to media.
Manitoba’s first large-scale vaccination clinic — on of the province’s so-called super-sites — opened at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg Jan. 4, and the province says a third site will open at the airport in Thompson on Feb. 1.
As more vaccine arrives in Manitoba, Pallister said additional fixed vaccination sites are planned throughout the province.
In an update earlier in the day, health officials said 12,409 doses of vaccine have been administered as of Tuesday, including 10,749 first doses and 1,660 second doses.
As of Tuesday, the province says 28,080 doses of Pfizer vaccine have been shipped to sites in Winnipeg and Brandon, as well as to personal care homes across the province.
More than 5,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine have also been sent to Manitoba First Nations, with 2,000 of those shots being used in personal care homes, the province said.
On Monday the province started an effort to immunize all eligible personal care home residents in the province by early March.
Pallister said he expects more than 1,150 personal care home residents will receive their first dose of vaccine by the end of this week.
Eligibility expanded, vaccination staff hired
Health officials also expanded eligibility criteria for vaccinations to include more care workers Wednesday.
Staff of congregate group care settings, such as Child and Family Services, Homeless Shelters, and Family Violence Shelters, are now eligible to receive the vaccine.
The province says the workers must provide direct care to other individuals, and will be contacted to schedule appointments.
Dr. Joss Reimer, with Manitoba’s vaccine task force, said the province expects to be able to vaccinate roughly 1,500 Manitobans a day through January, and as many as 2,500 a day in February.
But besides health-care staff and seniors, health officials still aren’t saying who can expect to be next in line to get the vaccine and when.
“We are actively looking at the prioritization populations as outlined by the national advisory committee on immunization, and our team is looking at the local epidemiology as well as the broader scientific data,” Reimer said Wednesday.
“I expect we’ll have some information on the next priority groups by next week.”
Reimer says they’ve been inundated with applications for immunization clinic workers, meaning the only obstacle to scale-up is access to more doses.
The province says an additional 1,071 staff has been hired as of Tuesday to help with vaccination efforts in Winnipeg and Brandon, bringing the total number of workers on staff to do the work to 1,666.
–With files from Will Reimer
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.
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