WINNIPEG -- As priority groups in Manitoba receive the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines, many are training to administer it.

 Saturday at the Red River College Notre Dame Campus, students were taking the COVID-19 Vaccine Training Course.

"They're going to practice how to draw up an (intramuscular) injection," said Tracy Warkentin, facilitator of the COVID-19 Vaccine Training Course.

"How to draw up the diluent to mix the vaccine, and then how to draw up the specific dose required for the vaccine."

Warkentin said everyone being trained is from the healthcare sector.

She said people interested in administering the vaccine applied through Shared Health, and those hired were sent to Red River for training.

"After training is done, they'll receive a micro-credential from Red River College," said Warkentin. "Shared Health will take everybody trained and (put them) into their pool to staff their vaccine clinics."

She said 288 students signed up for the training session.

Brenda Joel is one of the students who signed up. She said before coming to Red River for the hands-on training, she had to pass a 5-hour online course.

"It's just modules, you work your way through it and there's a test at the end," said Joel.

"After you're successful with the test, then you sign up for the lab portion."

Joel said she's semi-retired from the healthcare profession and wanted to be part of the COVID solution.

Words echoed by Janice Beveridge, another trainee in the program.

"The sooner we have more people trained, the faster, hopefully, we'll get on top of this and get people immunized."

Warkentin said the COVID vaccine is new to everyone, and the program will make sure trainees know how to handle it.

"How to keep it at the right temperature for the right amount of time, how to keep the sterility, and so we want to be really specific and careful with this vaccine so that it's effective to the public," she said.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Training Course is one of several micro-credential courses being offered by Red River College to help Manitoba's COVID Response Team.

In addition to vaccine administration, they're also providing micro-credentials for COVID-19 Lab testing and COVID-19 Sample Collection.