By Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Manitoba expects to receive 40,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses in January and will be changing its distribution plans.
Premier Brian Pallister says Manitoba will follow the lead of other provinces that are no longer holding back a stockpile for a second dose of vaccine, as supply chains have proven to be largely successful.
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require a second dosage.
The premier says the province will keep a smaller stockpile in case of supply-chain disruptions.
Front-line health-workers will still be the main priority for vaccinations in the first month of the new year.
Manitoba has reported 130 new cases of the virus and two additional deaths.
The five-day provincial COVID-19 test positivity rate is 12.6 per cent.
Pallister says Manitobans need to remain vigilant and the next 90 days are critical to lessening the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“As we move into the new year, these vaccines are only going to be hitting a small percentage of the population,” Pallister said Wednesday.
The province had low daily case numbers in the spring and summer, but infections exploded in the fall and it had the highest per-capita rate of new cases in the country. So far, there have been 661 deaths in Manitoba linked to COVID-19 in, the vast majority in recent months.
The reduction in daily infection rates comes after weeks of significant public-health restrictions. The current set of rules, which includes a ban on most social gatherings in private homes and a shutdown of non-essential stores, is to expire Jan. 8.
“Let us resolve to make 2021 better by learning lessons from the past and looking forward,” Pallister said.
As some politicians in other provinces are facing criticism for travelling outside Canada over the holidays, Pallister said he is not aware of any foreign trips with his legislature members.
Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative are “all aware of the importance of setting a proper example,” he said.
“I do not expect to see any international travel as a result of any of our team.”