Province of Manitoba Media Bulletin
December 23, 2020
As more COVID-19 vaccine is delivered to Manitoba in in the coming weeks, the province will expand eligibility criteria to help protect more health-care workers and those most at risk of serious illness from the virus. These adjustments will include progressively immunizing a broader range of health-care workers, residents of personal care homes and elderly Manitobans.
The eligibility criteria for next week’s immunization clinic will remain broadly unchanged, based on vaccine supply, to include health-care workers who have direct patient contact in:
• critical care;
• acute care;
• long-term care, including personal care homes; or
• a COVID-19 immunization clinic or testing site (expanded to include testing sites).
Beginning in the new year, eligibility criteria will be expanded to include health-care workers who have direct contact with clients, patients or COVID-19 specimens in the following settings:
• labs with COVID-19 specimens;
• child and family services or Community Living disABILITY Services group homes;
• paramedic and specialty medical transport teams;
• emergency placement, family violence and homeless shelters;
• correctional facilities; and
• home care.
Not every person in these categories will become eligible to be immunized at the same time. Some health-care workers, including those working in critical care, will continue to be prioritized before others within these broad categories to ensure care and service in this part of the system. Eligibility will also continue to be set by age brackets. The Manitoba government will use daily COVID-19 vaccine bulletins to inform health-care workers and other Manitobans when they become eligible to be immunized, based on vaccine supply.
Manitoba is taking a measured approach to provide vaccinations quickly and safely to designated priority populations, based on medical advice from provincial public health officials and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. The key limiting factor now is vaccine supply procured by the federal government, as supplies are expected to be limited until April 2021 across Canada.
Once additional vaccine supplies are received in January, an estimated 15,000 residents of personal care homes, who are most at risk of serious and potentially life-threatening illness, will also become eligible to be immunized. This will begin as soon as Manitoba receives vaccine that can be shipped to personal care homes, which is currently not permitted. Once vaccine is available, immunization will be based on a public health evidence-based formula that will assess the risks of each personal care home, based the number of residents and the use of shared rooms where infection is more likely to spread. Individuals who have been paneled and are awaiting placement in a personal care home would also be eligible.
During the month of January, Manitoba expects to be provided enough vaccine to provide approximately 10,000 immunizations per week.
The province invited a trilateral table on vaccine planning. Invited were the health experts appointed by Manitoba’s grand chiefs and include Dr. Marcia Anderson, Dr. Barry Lavallee, Cindy Garson and Melanie MacKinnon, as well as the senior officials from Indigenous Services Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces.
This new table plans to meet every week, but smaller forums will be established immediately to advance priority issues raised at the first meeting and ensure constant dialogue to help navigate prioritization for First Nations on- and off-reserve going forward. Early success was confirmation that all front-line health-care workers supporting First Nations will continue to have access to vaccinations to ensure ongoing continuity of health services.
Once larger, additional supplies of vaccines are made available to Manitoba, the next phase of the provincial COVID-19 immunization campaign will add seniors as a priority group, starting with the oldest Manitobans. This recognizes the increased risk of serious outcomes for older adults. However, based on projected deliveries of vaccine to Manitoba, this may not begin for several months. More information will be provided on this phase in the weeks to come.
The province’s first immunization super site is expected to open at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg on Jan. 4, followed by the Keystone Centre in Brandon on Jan. 18 and at a customized site to serve the north, located adjacent to the Thompson airport, on Feb. 1. The Thompson site will be designed to also support fast, safe and effective immunization of individuals who will travel there by plane from Manitoba’s many northern, isolated and vulnerable communities to receive a vaccine. The super sites will hold immunization clinics. As vaccine logistics allow focused immunization teams will also attend facilities, such as personal care homes, to immunize those who cannot safely travel.
To support more Manitobans who will need to book an immunization appointment in the coming months, a new online system will be launched in early 2021. The current phone line will continue to be available for Manitobans who may not have internet access.
The province will continue to update Manitobans regularly about current eligibility criteria, immunization clinics and other information related to the COVID-19 vaccine. Beginning in January, Manitoba will launch an online dashboard to provide statistics about the immunization program. For more information, visit www.manitoba.ca/vaccine.
The Manitoba government is taking strong action to protect Manitobans and ensure timely access to care. For more information on COVID-19 in Manitoba, visit www.manitoba.ca/COVID19.
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