The new groups that can book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in Manitoba
WINNIPEG -- The Vaccine Implementation Task Force has announced frontline police and firefighters in Manitoba will be able to start booking vaccine appointments.
Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead of the task force, announced in a vaccine technical briefing Wednesday morning that these frontline responders can start booking as early as Wednesday at 11:45 a.m. "We're looking at numbers around 2,400 frontline police officers and 4,700 frontline firefighters," said Reimer.
When it comes to geography eligibility, Reimer said the decisions are being based on case rates, population density, and the percentage of racialized and lower-income populations as well as suitable housing in those areas.
She said the details on the exact locations and when the appointments can start being booked will come on Friday.
"What I can add today is what workers will be included in the priority geography approach."
Reimer said the jobs include anyone who works at a school, childcare, or daycare location, food processing facilities, grocery stores, convenience and gas stores, and food serving businesses like restaurants.
Reimer added that transit drivers will not be eligible during the first round of the new vaccine rollout but they are being considered for the future.
These jobs must be in the priority locations and people over 18 will be eligible.
Reimer said the current jobs were chosen based on their potential vulnerability and how they have been affected by COVID-19.
She added even with the vaccine, the province is starting to see a trend similar to what happened to Manitoba in October.
"If you are currently eligible, make your appointment, get your vaccine as soon as possible, whatever vaccine you are eligible for."
She said if the COVID-19 trend continues in the province, another lockdown could happen.
She is also offering a reminder to those who receive their vaccine that they still must follow the health orders that are in place and that it will take two weeks for the vaccine to take effect to help the immune system.
Manitoba has also adjusted the target dates for when they expect 70 per cent of the population receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Under the low-vaccine supply scenario, the province expects to hit 70 per cent of the population immunized by June 9, while under the high-vaccine supply scenario, the date is June 5.
To date, 364,389 doses have been administered in the province and Johanu Botha said the province has reached another milestone as more than a quarter of Manitobans over the age of 18 have received their first dose.
Botha, the co-lead of the Vaccine Implementation Task Force, also noted that people can start booking appointments at Winnipeg's second supersite which is scheduled to open on May 7. The site will be located on Leila Avenue.
"We hope this is another option that makes it easier for people to get their vaccine closer to home," said Botha.
"The Leila supersite is expected to be able to deliver thousands of doses per day."