WINNIPEG -- Manitoba’s premier urged Manitobans to continue to keep their guard up against COVID-19 over the next three months, saying even though the COVID-19 vaccine is arriving in Manitoba, there is still more work needed to beat COVID-19.

During a news conference Tuesday morning, the premier said Manitobans have “90 days of duty” ahead of them in the current pandemic, saying that is the speculated time when he expects more COVID-19 vaccines will be in Manitoba, but he is concerned that people will relax their efforts in fighting COVID-19

“The three months, it could be argued, is an arbitrary target, but I think people need to be realistic here,” Pallister said. “I’ve heard from some of my colleagues that people are talking about, ‘As soon as I get the vaccine, that mask is coming off,’ and things like this. Or, ‘I’m having a party to celebrate.’ This is not on. We can’t relax.”

Pallister said they don’t have the science yet for how long the COVID-19 vaccine is effective, or if you could still infect someone with COVID-19 even if vaccinated.

“We do know the vaccine won’t work on everyone,” he said. “Though it’s proven that it will work, the question of degrees matters. So each of these things tells me, and tells most of us that we have to stay careful, we have to stay diligent, we have to stay dutiful.”

On Monday, the province reported 167 new COVID-19 cases, a lower total since the new public health orders came into effect. Four deaths were reported, the lowest number since Nov. 9.

“The best thing we can do for our businesses, for our health-care system, for our loved ones, for our vulnerable communities, is to bend that COVID curve down, and that means don’t let COVID up,” Pallister said. “We’ve got our boot on it. Let’s keep it right there.”

The premier said this holiday season will be a hard one, and said the actions now will determine how Manitobans will begin the new year. He once again urged Manitobans to not break the current public health orders and gather over the holiday season.

“Our duty is to follow these public health orders. Our duty is to keep each other safe,” he said. “Our duty is to earn the hope that we can put in the window, not just for these vaccines, because they may not be here in sufficient numbers for some time.

“Our duty is to celebrate again everything we have, separately, but together this year, so that next year we can be together again.”