Manitoba's second dose vaccine eligibility could be completely open by the end of next week
WINNIPEG -- Manitobans 12 and up might not have to wait much longer to book their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
On Wednesday, Johanu Botha, the co-lead of Manitoba's Vaccine Implementation Task Force, said the plan is to open up second dose eligibility to everyone by the end of next week.
"We're hoping to announce expanded second dose eligibility, every day, weekdays, with a goal of getting there by the end of next week," said Botha. "But it's not a hard line in the sand. We want to monitor as we continue to do that."
Botha also mentioned that walk-in appointments will also start to take place at some supersites starting next week.
"The walk-in approach is probably the only approach that allows us to simultaneously, get to those dose one individuals, those who can come to a supersite but for whatever reason have not wanted to, or didn't want to wait in the booking process or had some kind of other barriers through the booking process, while at the same time, getting some extra speed through as far as second doses."
He said starting on June 20, walk-ins will start at the Leila, Brandon, Dauphin, and Morden supersites, followed by Selkirk and Gimli on June 22, and then Steinbach will open up on June 24.
Botha noted this is possible because the province is getting a large shipment of Moderna, which will see around 105,000 doses come to Manitoba by Sunday at the latest, and an additional 200,000 doses could come by the end of the month at the latest.
With these added doses, supersites will now save 10 per cent of their doses for people who want to walk in and get them.
"If you arrive at the site and there are doses left, and you're a second dose individual, you will be able to get your dose," Botha said. "But if you're a first dose individual, every one of these sites will find a way to prioritize first doses."
Botha hopes walk-ins will be popular throughout the province, but said this will not prevent people from receiving a dose if they have an appointment.
"Those with an appointment will still get their appointment at their appointment time," he said. "So they will have a separate line or a separate process, so they are not held up by the walk-in lines. Their appointment will be respected."
He added the walk-in approach will not be available for people under the age of 18.
The walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Leila supersite proves popular for second doses.
There isn’t yet an official count on how many people came to the Leila supersite Wednesday, but the line-up for second doses was long.
Matt Terlinski got to the Leila vaccine super site Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., to get his second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
"Oh it was just crazy,” he said, “A steady stream of people coming and just lining up."
When CTV News spoke with him Wednesday afternoon, he estimated that there were about 120 people ahead of him in the line for second doses and hundreds more behind him.
"We're lined up all the way around the baseball diamond here, out to the mall and back. It's crazy," he said.
Alongside the winding second dose line, Terlinski said there was also a separate, shorter line for first doses—which the walk-in site is prioritizing.
"I think there is probably about 40 in that line as well."
Terlinski said he is willing to wait in this line instead of booking an appointment so he can enjoy the summer sooner.
"I want to be able to travel sort of Canada Day weekend, see some family in Saskatchewan and that's the way to do it."
MORE DOSES HEADED TO PHARMACIES AND PHYSICIANS
Not only will Manitobans be able to walk into supersites without an appointment, they will also be able to receive their second dose more easily through pharmacies and physicians as the task force is allocating around 30,000 doses to these areas which will be able to be used starting next week.
Botha said this is a big leap compared to last week, where only 6,000 doses were allocated for these locations.
"They, of course, do not have to administer all of these as first doses and many of them will be providing second doses as well."
He said this approach will allow for more mRNA vaccines to be provided to Manitobans and it will help push the first dose coverage in the province.