WINNIPEG — Manitoba will begin offering a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to select individuals, effective today.
Third doses of mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) are being made available to people who are moderate to severely immunocompromised due to a medical condition and/or treatment, those wishing to travel, and people who have received one or two doses of a vaccine that is not approved by Health Canada.
“We know that people who are immunocompromised may not be able to develop a good defence against COVID-19 with just two doses of the vaccine,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the Vaccine Implementation Task Force.
“This initial plan for the third dose recognizes those who are at increased risk of severe illness. It also responds to the individual challenges faced by people travelling outside of Canada.”
The complete list of medical conditions and/or treatments that would result in a person being considered immunocompromised and recommended to receive a third dose is available at Manitoba.ca/vaccine. In all situations, these doses should be given a minimum of 28 days after the person’s most recent dose of any COVID-19 vaccine.
The decision to offer third doses comes following guidance released last week by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. Some other provinces have also opted to make third doses available.
Vaccine medical exemption coming
The province has identified three situations where a person may be eligible for a temporary or permanent medical exemption to vaccination, while also enjoying the same benefits as those Manitobans who are fully immunized.
A person can have a specialist physician review their application and then submit it to the Vaccine Implementation Task Force.
- Had a severe reaction after the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (e.g. myocarditis, Guillain-Barré syndrome)
- Are receiving treatment that affects their ability to mount an immune response, meaning vaccination must be timed carefully with their treatment schedule (e.g. receiving immunocompromising treatment after a transplant, certain types of cancer treatments)
- Had a severe allergy or anaphylactic reaction to a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or its components that cannot be managed by the Health Sciences Centre Allergy Clinic
The process to submit medical exemptions will be finalized as soon as possible, along with updated clinical guidance for health-care professionals. The province is also developing a way to ensure individuals with a valid medical exemption are able to access the same benefits as those with an immunization card. This work is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.