WINNIPEG — The first initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Manitoba.
A UPS cargo plane touched down at Winnipeg’s James Richardson International Airport on Tuesday — roughly 24 hours before the first vaccinations will take place.
Manitoba has prioritized a group of people to receive the first inoculations, including health-care workers. The province received enough doses of the Pfizer vaccine to immunize 900 people beginning Wednesday morning.
Nearly 900 appointments have been booked between Wednesday and Friday to immunize Manitoba’s first priority group of specific at-risk, health-care workers. Each immunization appointment is expected to take about 45 minutes.
The first vaccines will be administered at the University of Manitoba Rady Faculty of Health Sciences campus on McDermot Avenue.
“This is a long-awaited day of hope for Manitoba, as for more than nine months, this unprecedented pandemic has taken a toll on all of us as individuals, on our communities and our health-care system,” said Premier Brian Pallister.
Pallister says all of the individuals immunized at the first clinic will receive their second dose at a clinic ‘super site’ at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg. An ultra-low temperature freezer was installed at the site on Monday and it is expected to become fully operational in January, assuming additional supplies of vaccine are delivered.
Pallister noted that this is the first step to establish fixed vaccination sites in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Steinbach, Gimli, Portage la Prairie and The Pas, which will begin to launch in the new year based on vaccine supplies.
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.
More than 100 people have been hired as immunizers and will become part of the first micro-credential offered at Red River College. A list of employment opportunities are available on the province’s website.