Second COVID-19 vaccine supersite to open in Winnipeg next month
WINNIPEG -- A second COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Winnipeg will be opening in May, according to Manitoba’s vaccine task force.
Johanu Botha, the co-chair of the Vaccine Implementation Task Force, said the new site will be located at the Winnipeg Soccer Federation Complex, located at 770 Leila Ave.
The supersite is expected to open on May 7 and would have a maximum capacity of 4,154 COVID-19 vaccine doses per day.
The first supersite in Winnipeg opened at the RBC Convention Centre.
Supersites have also opened in Brandon, Thompson, Selkirk, and Morden.
Manitoba also lowered the vaccine eligibility once again in the province.
Manitobans ages 60 and older, and First Nations ages 40 and older, are now able to book appointments to receive a vaccine.
As of April 8, 259,847 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Manitoba.
On Friday, the task force was asked if the vaccine rollout strategy should be shifted to focus on younger people as the third wave is starting.
Botha said the task force does have plans in its back pocket if a change is required.
"We have tools in the toolkit that can serve remote or vulnerable Manitobans but they will go slower. If the medical direction is such that it might be more beneficial to just get all doses in arms faster, and maybe emphasis less on those sort of remote type populations, then we can pivot," said Botha, noting the task force needs to support the medical strategy first.
Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead of the Vaccine Implementation Task Force, said this is a scenario they look at all the time.
"What our epidemiology and surveillance team is doing along with some of our medical officers of health is doing a scan and connecting with the other provinces to get more of an inside look at the trends that they're seeing, so that we can try to predict what we might see here," said Reimer.
"If we see that there's a clear trend where a new population is at a higher risk than what we saw when we made the initial decisions, we will absolutely change our approach."
Reimer also addressed the importance of being vaccinated now as the third wave is starting.
"If we all get immunized, then we are much less likely to pass the infection on to others, we can protect ourselves, we can protect our families, and we can protect Manitoba."
The pair was also asked if the task force is looking at ways to speed up the vaccination process and get more shots into arms faster.
"I would say nothing is off the table. We were constantly looking at new or different models to administer vaccines," said Botha.
He said what has proven difficult compared to other provinces such as Saskatchewan is how remote some communities are in Manitoba and that pop-up vaccine sites have been used a lot more as well.
He also noted drive-thru options could be looked at. This is a method being used in Saskatchewan right now.
"This is not about a race or a competition between provinces. I think we all have the same goal. We've administered 20,000 (doses), or around that amount more than they have. But they have been able to administer more per capita," he said.
Botha again said if the medical direction changes the operation side will be ready.
- With files from CTV’s Michelle Gerwing.