Manitoba's expected Pfizer vaccine doses being reduced again
Jennifer Cochrane, a public health nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, readies the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite at the Keystone Centre on Monday (Jan. 18, 2021). (Courtesy the Government of Manitoba)
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba's health minister says the province's allotment of the Pfizer vaccine expected in January is being cut in half and more reductions may be looming – creating uncertainty around Manitoba's vaccine rollout.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Manitoba's Health Minister Heather Stefanson said the province has been told to expect further reductions to the number of Pfizer vaccine doses coming to the province from the federal government and the manufacturer.
"What we know so far is this: our planning had been based on 18,720 doses between now and the end of the month. As of today, that projection has been cut in half, with further reductions expected in February," Stefanson said.
"Our province is working hard to plan and prepare for this massive immunization campaign but the level of uncertainty caused by missed or reduced vaccine shipments will affect our work in the weeks ahead but please be assured, we are fully equipped to adjust to the changing circumstances."
This is the second time in less than a week that the province has been told its vaccine supply will be cut down.
The province announced last week that Manitoba would be seeing reductions in Pfizer vaccine doses. On Monday, health officials said Manitoba will receive 28,000 fewer doses than expected over the next four weeks.
Dr. Joss Reimer, medical officer of health and member of Manitoba's COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Task Force, said the province is reviewing the vaccine reductions, and will look at how many first-dose appointments can be booked.
She said the province needs to confirm how many second doses are required and how Manitoba's vaccine rollout will be affected by what she called a "very unpredictable supply in the weeks ahead."
"We will not sacrifice safety for speed," Reimer said in a statement on Tuesday. "At this point, our call centre remains open for eligible Manitobans to book their appointment but this may change based on the number of vaccines we receive."
Reimer said the task force will release more information soon.
This is a developing story. More to come.