Manitoba's vaccine task force looking to speed up COVID-19 immunization campaign
WINNIPEG -- The province is looking to temporarily shift its vaccination plan, to get more doses into arms quicker.
Johanu Botha, the co-lead of the Vaccine Implementation Task Force, said Wednesday morning, that’ll happen by funnelling more doses into larger pipes like supersites.
He said that could mean fewer pop-ups will happen. However pop-ups are not going away.
Botha explained this pivot would mean fewer, larger pop-up clinics will happen instead.
The province is also planning to use up more Pfizer doses each week since shipments are now coming each week as planned.
Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead for the Vaccine Implementation Task Force, said it is important that people get immunized as soon as possible.
"If you are currently eligible to be immunized, I would encourage to make an appointment and get your vaccine as soon as possible, whichever vaccine you are eligible for," she said. "The benefits of this vaccine far outweigh the risks associated with the vaccine."
Reimer said she wants everyone to be vaccinated so the entire province can protect one another.
She added the province isn't at the point yet where there is herd immunity.
"It's important that people follow the fundamentals while we continue to get more people immune. Because once we have enough people in the community vaccinated, we start to protect each other."
The province says 20 per cent of the eligible population has now received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Botha said 299,821 doses have been administered to Manitobans.
The province has also updated the eligibility criteria. Now those 59 and older and First Nation people 39 and older can book an appointment to receive a shot.
NEW SUPERSITE GETTING READY TO OPEN
Botha also announced a new supersite will be opening up in the province in May.
"Our next supersite will open in Steinbach in May as the vaccine supply further increases and stabilizes," said Botha.
The supersite will be located at 294 Lumber Ave.
"We are continuing to evaluate what we do to make our processes as efficient and effective but as safe as possible."