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Manitoba expands eligibility for 4th dose of COVID-19 vaccine

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The Manitoba government is expanding eligibility requirements for people to get a second booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Those eligible include residents of personal care homes and in congregate settings, such as supportive housing and assisted living facilities.

Read more: Most provinces have no plans to reimpose COVID-19 restrictions as cases surge

As well, people ages 70 and older and First Nations, Inuit and Métis people 50 and older are eligible.

The change follows a recent recommendation from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization for people 70 and older to get a second booster.

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The group also recommended that it may be offered to people from First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities.

The recommendations were made in light of the potential for waning effectiveness of booster doses against severe disease.

“We know that vaccination is our best defence against this virus and I encourage all Manitobans to get fully vaccinated,” Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson said Wednesday following her government’s announcement.

Read more: COVID-19: Staffing challenges hitting Manitoba’s service industry hard

She added that the province’s top doctor will provide more information on fourth doses later this week.

The province said the second booster should be Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna and should be given at least six months after the last booster dose.

It said the second booster for these groups will be offered as early as mid-April and will remain available over the coming months.

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The province started offering fourth doses last December to youth and adults who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.

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In this case, the fourth dose should be given five months after the third dose for people 50 and older and six months after the third dose for all other youth and adults.

Read more: COVID-19 cases and deaths dropping globally, WHO says

People 18 or older who live in a First Nations community are also eligible as long as it has been five months since their third dose.

The province said Tuesday that 1,495 Manitobans have so far received a fourth dose.

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