Manitoba police officers, firefighters and adults in high-risk communities will soon be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine as the province has announced an expansion of its eligibility criteria.
“This comprehensive approach, built on the advice of our medical experts, is the next step in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting people at risk,” Health Minister Heather Stefanson said in a release Thursday night.
More information on when police and firefighters can book appointments is coming next week, while the first list of eligible high-risk communities will be announced on April 21.
People with front-line jobs in those communities, such as teachers, will also be eligible.
The province says vaccine supply is still limited and not everyone in these categories will be able to get the shot immediately.
“This is a targeted approach to ensure those most affected by COVID-19, who are often racialized or marginalized people, have access to the vaccine sooner,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of Manitoba’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force.
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Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman called on the province earlier this week to use a strategy that goes beyond age.
“Ideally what I’d like to see is our provincial government set a target of having our population have the highest per capita vaccination rates in the country. Let’s all go for the best outcome for the safety of our community and then support those efforts,” the mayor told Global News.
“Our police, as well as other essential workers like transit — and in the broader community, teachers and others — we see many of these groups being prioritized based on that risk exposure, not just from an age perspective.”