Coronavirus: New vaccine appointments paused in Manitoba as Pfizer announces delay

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The province won't be taking any new vaccine appointments for the time being due to shipping delays with the Pfizer vaccine – Jan 15, 2021

A temporary delay in the delivery of the Pfizer vaccine to Canada is forcing Manitoba to pause new appointments.

Dr. Joss Reimer, a member of Manitoba’s COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Task Force, said appointments previously scheduled will still take place.

Read more: ‘Temporary delay’ chops Canada’s deliveries of Pfizer vaccine in half for four weeks

“We anticipated these issues and have contingency plans in place,” Reimer said in a tweet Friday afternoon.

“Our immunization plan is to safely and responsibly vaccinate as many Manitobans as possible with the doses we’ve been given.”

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The federal government announced earlier Friday shipments over the next four weeks will be reduced by an average of 50 per cent because the company is scaling up its European manufacturing capacity — a move that will impact the vaccine’s production for a “short period.”

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Canada’s Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the disruption won’t impact Canada’s long-term vaccination timeline.

Read more: Vaccine rollout in isolated First Nations a complicated process: Grand Chief

In the tweets Reimer said here in Manitoba health-care workers already booked to receive a vaccine should still attend their appointments as previously scheduled.

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Manitoba health minister Heather Stefanson is promising appointments already scheduled will not be cancelled.

“Every Manitoban who has made an appointment to be immunized will still be able to do so, whether it’s their first or second dose,” Stefanson said. “We are now seeing the benefits of our initial planning and the precautions we took, as the federally-sourced vaccine supply remains unpredictable.

The province says the second super-site in Brandon will significantly scale back operations shortly after opening on Monday and the Thompson site will not open as soon as expected.

To date, Canada has received about 380,000 doses of the vaccine and was on track to more than double that figure before the end of the month. In February, Canada was also expecting just shy of two million doses to be delivered.

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Click to play video 'Manitoba’s slow vaccine rollout' Manitoba’s slow vaccine rollout
Manitoba’s slow vaccine rollout – Jan 12, 2021

Manitoba has received 38,890 doses of vaccine so far and has administered 13,539 of them.

The province was expecting to receive 9,360 doses of Pfizer next week.

Read more: Northern Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 immunization underway; chiefs describe some hesitancy

According to provincial data released Friday, 281 personal care home residents have been immunized and all residents are expected to receive their first dose by the middle of February.

–With files from Global’s Rachel Gilmore

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Manitoba provides update on vaccine rollout' Coronavirus: Manitoba provides update on vaccine rollout
Coronavirus: Manitoba provides update on vaccine rollout – Jan 13, 2021

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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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.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.