Manitoba health officials now say all Mantiobans over the age of 60 and all adults living in First Nation communities should get a third COVID-19 vaccine shot — even if it hasn’t quite been six months since their second dose — going into the holiday season.
Dr. Joss Reimer, who heads up the province’s vaccine implementation task force, says booster shots are now open to anyone over the age of 60 and anyone 18 and over living on First Nations who received their second shot on or before July 10.
That means more than 100,000 people can get a booster shot early.
“We want to get these boosters in now so holiday gatherings don’t lead to a greater increase (in cases),” Reimer said at a Friday afternoon press conference.
Officials say everyone else should wait the previously recommended six-month interval before getting a third dose.
Reimer says bumping the booster up a month will help protect those two groups from more severe outcomes if someone were to contract the virus.
The new recommendation comes the same week Manitoba reported its first five lab-confirmed cases of the Omicron variant.
Reimer said Friday officials are expecting to see a rise in cases during the holiday season.
Currently all Manitobans aged five and up are eligible to receive a first and second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. More information on eligibility is available on the province’s website.
At last word Friday morning 83 per cent of eligible Manitobans aged five and up have received at least one shot of vaccine and 77.9 per cent have received two doses.
–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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