Advertisement

Manitobans 40 and over can now access AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Click to play video: 'Manitobans 40 and over can now access AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine' Manitobans 40 and over can now access AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
Manitoba pharmacists had a busy day taking vaccination appointments Monday after the province changed eligibility rules to allow anyone 40 and over to get the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Global's Brittany Greenslade has more – Apr 19, 2021

Manitobans 40 and over can now get the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

In a release Monday morning the province said it is lowering the minimum age eligibility following similar moves by Ontario and Alberta.

Read more: Ontario, Alberta to lower minimum age for AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from 55 to 40

The change is effective immediately, Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson said.

“Tens of thousands of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine remain in clinics and pharmacies across the province, which is why we’re expanding the eligibility criteria for the vaccine,” said Stefanson in a government release.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba health officer warns new restrictions possible as COVID-19 cases climb' Manitoba health officer warns new restrictions possible as COVID-19 cases climb
Manitoba health officer warns new restrictions possible as COVID-19 cases climb – Apr 16, 2021

“I want to thank physician and pharmacy partners for their work to provide vaccine and look forward to the numbers of doses administered increasing quickly over the coming days.”

Story continues below advertisement

Eligible Manitobans can find their nearest clinic or pharmacy with available doses by visiting the province’s website.

Read more: COVID-19 — 183 new Manitoba cases Saturday, vaccine eligibility expands

Until now, the AstraZeneca vaccine in Manitoba had been available to those 65 and over, and to people between 55 and 64 with certain underlying medical conditions.

Health Canada has approved the vaccine for people under 55, but the National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended the shot only be offered to those 55 and older due to a slightly elevated risk of an extremely rare blood clot disorder.

Story continues below advertisement

There have been just two cases of blood clots in Canada out of the more than 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca administered so far.

The global frequency of the blood clot disorder, known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia or VITT, has been estimated at about one case in 100,000 to 250,000 doses.

Read more: Gimli schools closed Monday due to COVID-19 cases

Experts say the risk of developing blood clots due to COVID-19 is much higher, and they encourage people to accept the first vaccine they’re offered.

“Based on all of the evidence available internationally to date, we continue to believe benefits of the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine to protect against COVID-19 outweigh any potential risks,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead for Manitoba’s vaccine implementation task force.

Click to play video: 'Health Canada says AstraZeneca vaccine still safe, despite ‘stronger link’ to rare blood clots' Health Canada says AstraZeneca vaccine still safe, despite ‘stronger link’ to rare blood clots
Health Canada says AstraZeneca vaccine still safe, despite ‘stronger link’ to rare blood clots – Apr 14, 2021

“Expanding the criteria will help us reach more Manitobans, particularly those who may face challenges or face barriers in going to a super site or pop-up clinic.”

Story continues below advertisement

Data from clinical trials showed AstraZeneca was 62 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 infections, but it prevented death and hospitalization in all participants who got the virus after receiving the vaccine.

Read more: Vaccinated Manitobans should be cautious while COVID-19 immunity builds after deaths reported: province

Real-world data may also suggest the efficacy of AstraZeneca’s vaccine increases over a longer time interval between the first and second shot. Clinical trials used a four-week span between doses but some countries have been delaying second doses by several weeks.

In Canada, many provinces, including Manitoba, have opted to delay the second dose by four months.

Click to play video: 'Vaccinated Manitobans should be cautious while COVID-19 immunity builds after deaths reported: province' Vaccinated Manitobans should be cautious while COVID-19 immunity builds after deaths reported: province
Vaccinated Manitobans should be cautious while COVID-19 immunity builds after deaths reported: province – Apr 14, 2021

A provincial spokesperson told Global News Monday all 84,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine Manitoba has so far received from the federal government have been shipped to clinics and pharmacies.

Story continues below advertisement

Just under 55,000 doses were estimated to be still available as of Monday morning, the spokesperson said.

Age eligibility dropped for super sites, pop-ups

Health officials also dropped the age eligibility for those able to get vaccinated at super sites and pop-up vaccination clinics Monday.

Eligibility has been expanded to include those 54 or older and First Nation people aged 34 and older.

Read more: Canada expecting 1M Pfizer vaccine doses this week after Moderna delays shipment

Anyone who has been in Manitoban for one month or longer can also receive their shot at no cost, provided they meet eligibility requirements, the province said.

Appointments are available at super sites in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Selkirk, and Morden, and pop-up clinics are also scheduled in a number of communities across the province in the coming weeks.

Story continues below advertisement

Appointments can be booked online or by calling 1-844-626-822.

The province says focused immunization teams will be giving first-dose immunizations to those living at 27 congregate living facilities this week.

Read more: Less than 1 per cent of Manitoba’s COVID-19 vaccine supply wasted, officials say

To date 341,926 doses of vaccine have been administered across Manitoba, including 272,104 first doses and 69,822 second doses, according to provincial data.

Manitoba has so far received 486,810 doses of vaccine from the federal government, including 284,310 doses of Pfizer vaccine; 118,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine; and 84,100 doses of the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine.

–With files from The Canadian Press and Brittany Greenslade

Story continues below advertisement

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.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, visit our coronavirus page.

Sponsored content