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Manitoba’s efforts to boost vaccination rates appear to be working, officials say

Click to play video: 'Manitoba health official addresses potential COVID-19 impacts on menstrual cycle' Manitoba health official addresses potential COVID-19 impacts on menstrual cycle
Medical officer of health and medical lead for the Manitoba Vaccine Implementation Task Force Dr. Joss Reimer addressed reports of women reporting changes to their menstrual cycles after receiving COVID-19 vaccination, adding this area isn't heavily studied. She said there could be a number of reasons tied into why this happens, as changes to periods are generally fairly common in her practice – Jun 30, 2021

Manitoba’s COVID-19 vaccination rate is near the top in the country and fears of a potential stall in uptake have so far not come to pass, health officials said Wednesday.

“It’s really worthy of celebration to know what we’ve all done together, to protect our loved ones and to protect our communities,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province’s vaccine effort.

Read more: Another Manitoban with COVID-19 dies in care at location out of province

Provincial data showed almost 26,000 doses per day, on average, were put into arms last week — the highest number recorded during the pandemic. The number this week is forecast to be even higher.

As of Wednesday, 73 per cent of people aged 12 and over had at least one vaccine dose and 42 per cent had two shots. COVID-19 Tracker Canada, an independent, volunteer data website, said Manitoba had administered the highest number of doses per 100,000 people among the provinces. Ontario was a close second.

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Click to play video: 'Manitoba health official urges pregnant women to get COVID-19 vaccine' Manitoba health official urges pregnant women to get COVID-19 vaccine
Manitoba health official urges pregnant women to get COVID-19 vaccine – Jun 30, 2021

Johanu Botha, co-lead of the province’s vaccine team, said the number of people getting first doses started to level off a few weeks ago. But it is still rising, and the rate of growth has even rebounded a little.

“It used to increase by 0.2 per cent or so every day. It’s now 0.3, 0.4,” Botha said.

Reimer, Botha and other health officials have rolled out efforts to overcome barriers to vaccination.

Read more: 2 deaths, 70 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba Wednesday

There have been mobile clinics for inner-city residents and outreach programs to different ethnic communities where language may be an issue.

The group that represents physicians in the province, Doctors Manitoba, organized virtual town halls, some of which were targeted to areas of the province where vaccine hesitancy has been high.

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The Progressive Conservative government has also set up a lottery open to anyone who gets vaccinated, with top prizes of $100,000.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Manitoba community vaccine outreach to provide 20K doses' COVID-19: Manitoba community vaccine outreach to provide 20K doses
COVID-19: Manitoba community vaccine outreach to provide 20K doses – Jun 29, 2021

Botha said the province is on track to exceed vaccination targets needed to ease public health orders under a reopening plan announced earlier this month.

By August long weekend, people will be able to gather in larger crowds and businesses will have larger capacity limits if 75 per cent of people aged 12 and up have at least one dose and 50 per cent have two.

By Labour Day, most restrictions will be lifted if the numbers, respectively, reach 80 per cent and 75 per cent.

Read more: Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine yet in Manitoba? How to book it and where to go

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For the time being, Manitobans continue to face tight restrictions including a ban on most indoor social gatherings.

The province is still working its way out of the pandemic’s third wave, which peaked last month and forced hospitals to send some intensive care patients to other provinces.

Health officials reported 70 new cases Wednesday, down from more than 600 one day last month, and two deaths. Nine patients were still being treated in hospitals in Ontario.

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.

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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.

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