WINNIPEG — The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in Manitoba as early as next week.
Premier Brian Pallister said Wednesday the province will receive the first 1,950 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which is enough to immunize about 900 people with two doses each three weeks apart. The first group to be administered include front-line health-care workers in Manitoba’s critical care units.
“With only a very limited supply of new vaccines available before the spring, we will follow the advice of national and provincial public health experts,” said Pallister.
“We will focus our initial immunization efforts on those most at risk of COVID-19 including seniors, those working in the health-care system and in long-term care facilities, and Indigenous peoples.”
About 60 percent of Manitobans would need to receive the vaccine for the population to achieve herd immunity.
The province will receive further vaccine shipments in late December or early January. Manitoba will receive 228,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines between now and March 31, 2021, enough to vaccinate more than 100,000 Manitobans or approximately seven percent of the total population. An additional 9,600 Moderna vaccine doses have been secured due to Manitoba’s higher proportion of Indigenous people.
Along with front-line health-care workers, the following priority groups will be the first to be immunized:
• Seniors in congregate living settings such as long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, retirement homes, and chronic care hospitals
• Older adults starting at 80 years of age and older
• Adults at risk in remote or isolated Indigenous communities
First temporary immunization clinic ready
Manitoba health officials say the first temporary immunization clinic is ready in Winnipeg. The site completed a successful logistic federal/provincial ‘dry run’ on Tuesday.
Additional vaccination sites are planned to open over the next three months in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Steinbach, Gimli, Portage la Prairie and The Pas. Over 60 freezers of varying specifications have already been procured or allocated to the province to meet the very stringent physical storage and distribution demands of these two vaccines. By January, the province will have the capacity to safely store more than 1.8 million doses of vaccine. Dry ice and related supplies have also been purchased to ensure the quality of vaccine and safety for people who will work with it.
A recruitment campaign will get underway shortly to attract qualified individuals to administer the vaccine. The province is also partnering with Red River College to ensure professionals, including retired professionals, hired to administer the COVID-19 vaccine can upgrade or extend their existing skills to do so safely, under clinical supervision.