WINNIPEG --  The Manitoba government is expecting the demand for the flu vaccine to increase this year.

With this expectation, the Progressive Conservatives are doubling the order for the high-dose influenza vaccine.

In 2019, the province ordered 11,500 high-dose vaccines and it plans to order 21,500 for this influenza season.

“The flu season is always challenging, but COVID-19 will make it even more difficult. That’s why our government is taking every precaution to help keep Manitobans safe,” said Cameron Friesen, Minister of Health, Seniors, and Active Living, in a news release. “By doubling our order of high-dose influenza vaccine and making it available to more people at high risk of contracting the flu, we are able to protect them, as well as our health-care providers on the front line.”

This vaccine is specifically designed for people age 65 years and older and the province said it is making it more accessible for Manitobans.

Those who will be allowed to get the high-dose vaccine include:

  • Residents of supportive and assisted living housing;
  • Newly incarcerated or transferred people from other federal or out-of-province correctional facilities;
  • People who are receiving home care services while they wait for admission into a long-term care facility;
  • Living on a First Nation or remote communities; and
  • Living north of the 53rd parallel.

The vaccine is also normally available for seniors in long-term care homes, transitional care beds, and respite care.

Pharmacies, physicians, and other providers will be allowed to place their orders starting on Aug. 17, and orders are expected to arrive in late September.

“Manitobans need to plan for a challenging flu season as COVID-19, influenza and colds will be occurring at the same time this fall,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, in a news release. “Getting the flu vaccine or the high-dose influenza vaccine is an important step that will help keep you and those around you healthy this season. Staying home when you are sick, practising good hand hygiene and covering your cough also helps reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others.”

For more information about influenza, Manitobans can visit the province's website.