Manitoba health officials are recommending everyone eligible for a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine get one as soon as possible heading into the holiday season.
The recommendation comes a day after Manitoba reported its first lab-confirmed case of the Omicron variant and health officials say there are no plans to introduce stiffer public health orders.
“As you’re planning a holiday get-together, dinner out with friends, or whatever this season means to you, also plan to get your third dose,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, head of the province’s vaccine implementation task force.
“We want you to schedule your dose now so that your body has two weeks that it needs after the vaccine to develop that full protection against COVID.
“We’ve seen spikes in cases after other holidays in the past, and we want this time to be different.”
Currently all Manitobans aged five and up are eligible to receive a first and second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
All Mantiobans over the age of 18 who have already received two doses of vaccine are also eligible for a third dose, provided its been six months since their second shot.
More information on eligibility is available on the province’s website.
At a Wednesday press conference Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief public health officer said COVID-19 numbers are plateauing but are expected to rise slightly in the coming weeks.
Atwal said much depends on the extent to which people follow health guidelines. The province is not currently looking at increasing public health restrictions, Atwal added.
Meanwhile, the province is looking at delaying more surgeries to free up staff for COVID-19 patients in intensive care units.
There were 98 people in intensive care beds — including non-COVID-19 patients — as of Wednesday morning, which is 26 more than Manitoba’s capacity before the pandemic.
–With files from The Canadian Press
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.
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