Young Manitobans lined up with lawn chairs and blankets hours before doors opened Wednesday at the province’s first walk-in vaccine clinic specifically for youth.
The vaccine supersite on Leila Street in Winnipeg started accepting walk-ins for those aged 12-17 at 9 a.m., just a few hour before provincial health officials confirmed Manitoba will receive hundreds of thousands of Pfizer doses — the only vaccine approved for young people — in July.
A slowdown in Pfizer deliveries in June had threatened plans to vaccinate young Manitobans and led some parents to switch their appointments to Moderna in order to save Pfizer shots for kids.
But health officials said Wednesday doses of Pfizer that had been expected this month are now scheduled to start arrive in the province by mid-July.
According to a vaccine update provided by the province, Manitoba is scheduled to receive 113,500 Pfizer doses the week of July 19 and another 133,400 doses the following week.
More information is expected from Manitoba’s vaccine implementation task force lead, Dr. Joss Reimer and operations lead Johanu Botha at a 12:30 p.m. press conference. Global News will stream the event live in this story.
Some 85,500 Pfizer shots are also expected to arrive in Manitoba over the first two weeks of July, and 5,850 doses are expected this week.
Meanwhile, after receiving larger than expected shipments of Moderna vaccine in June — hundreds of thousands of doses that led the province to open up second doses to all eligible Manitobans — the province says it’s so far expecting a more modest 51,200 doses of that vaccine in July.
The province says it plans to continue walk-in Pfizer appointments for young people at the Leila super site daily from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. until Sunday.
Officials said Monday roughly 330 doses will be available daily at the site for people between the ages of 12 and 17, and in anticipation of significant demand, they’ll be giving those in line colour-coded tickets with a timeslot for later that day to get vaccinated.
Pfizer appointments are also being booked for all supersites for the end of July.
Anyone 12 and over is now eligible to make first- or second-dose appointments in Manitoba, provided the date of the second appointment is at least 28 days after the first shot.
Vaccination appointments can be made by calling 1-844-626-8222 (1-844-MAN-VACC) or visiting the province’s website.
Vaccines and reopening plans
Manitoba’s reopening plans, which would see restrictions loosened throughout the summer, are closely tied to the province’s vaccination rates.
Restrictions were loosened to allow larger outdoor gathering sizes and the reopening of some businesses over the weekend after 70 per cent of all Manitobans 12 and over received their first shot and 25 per cent received their second shot.
Businesses, such as casinos and movie theatres, remain closed but are expected to open at later stages of the plan this summer, provided more Manitobans roll up their sleeves for the vaccine and daily case numbers and hospitalization rates stay low.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said Tuesday the province needs about 51,000 more people to get a first dose by Labour Day in order to reach a target of 80 per cent, which would help trigger an end to further restrictions on public gatherings and businesses.
At last word, 73.6 per cent of Manitobans have received one shot of vaccine and 42.4 per cent have received two, according to a provincial site tracking vaccinations.
Health officials reported 70 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths Wednesday.
— with files from The Canadian Press
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