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Manitoba Opens Vaccine Eligibility to All Indigenous People

May 3, 2021 10:14 AM | News

Coronavirus Vaccine

A typical vaccination station at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, Monday, December 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

WINNIPEG — All Indigenous people in Manitoba 18 and over are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.

“We have seen consistently that First Nations people have made up 50 to 60 per cent of all COVID-19 admissions to intensive care units, and we want to ensure that all Indigenous peoples in Manitoba can access the vaccine as soon as possible,” said Dr. Marcia Anderson, public health lead for the First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team.

“Getting the vaccine will not only protect the person, but also their family members and loved ones, which is critical to saving lives and protecting the capacity of the health-care system.”

The expansion is for sites that offer the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Eligibility for the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is provided at medical clinics and pharmacies, will remain for people aged 40 and over or people aged 30 to 39 with certain medical conditions.

Appointments can be made as of 11:45 a.m. today at supersites and pop-up clinics or urban Indigenous vaccine clinics.

“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to get vaccinated quickly,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead, Vaccine Immunization Task Force. “I encourage everyone to book their appointment as soon as they can, to help protect themselves and the people around them.”

Dr. Reimer says she expects the province to lower age eligibility for the general population at vaccine supersites this week. The age cutoff is currently at 50 years of age or older.