The two priority groups for the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine in Manitoba
A nurse fills a syringe with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a health care center in Seoul Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. (Jung Yeon-je /Pool Photo via AP)
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba has released its priority list outlining two groups who will be eligible to receive the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine doses in Manitoba.
The province said it received 18,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine on Tuesday, and will begin shipping the doses to pharmacies and clinics in Manitoba this week.
The province said so far, 176 medical clinics and 181 pharmacies have been approved to administer the vaccine. Other sites are expected to be approved as well.
According to the eligibility guidelines released on Wednesday, the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine doses will be administered to people 50 to 64-years-old in the general population, and 30 to 64-years-old among First Nations populations, who have a high-risk condition that increases the risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19.
The province's guidelines said the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine will be administered to people based on two priority groups.
The guidelines said people in the first priority group should be offered immunizations before people in the second priority group
"We know that there are more Manitobans in the priority list than there are doses available," Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead of Manitoba's Vaccine Implementation Task Force. "There is no question that the 18,000 doses will not reach everybody in the priority one list."
Reimer said the province is asking the doctors and pharmacists to identify the highest-risk individuals among their clients.
"They are in the best position to do that case-by-case medical assessment of somebody's risk," Reimer said.
"We are also asking that they do this very quickly."
Reimer said a large number of the vaccines have a short expiration date, and said the doses need to be administered in the next few weeks.
Reimer said the province has been told by the federal government more shipments of the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine could be coming later in March, though no dates or quantities have been set.
PRIORITY ONE GROUP
The priority one group includes people with the following chronic health conditions:
- end-stage renal disease undergoing hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis
- cirrhosis due to any cause or portal hypertension
- heart failure (class III/IV), ventricular assist device or adult congenital heart disease stage C and D
- severe COPD, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease or cystic fibrosis
- history of cerebral vascular accident with residual deficits
- malignant hematologic disorders including leukemia and lymphoma or clonal blood disorder
- malignant neoplasms (solid tissue) who will receive or are currently receiving immunosuppressive therapy including chemotherapy
- severe obesity (BMI ≥ 40)
- receiving one or more of the following immunosuppressive therapies: B cell therapies (e.g., rituximab, ocrelizumab), cyclophosphamide, alemtuzumab, calcineurin inhibitors, chronic dose prednisone>=20 mg/day, mycophenolate, sulfasalazine and JAK inhibitors (e.g., tofacitinib)
- solid organ or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (candidate or recipient)
- trisomy 21 (Down’s syndrome)
- asplenia or hyposplenism (including sickle cell disease)
The priority one group also includes those receiving home care four times a week or more, or who receive 24/7 supports from Community Living Disability Services.
The priority one group also includes pregnant women who:
- are 35 years old and older
- have a body mass index of 30 or more
- have pre-existing diabetes
- have pre-existing hypertension
- has cardiac or pulmonary disease
PRIORITY TWO GROUP
The priority two group includes people with the following chronic health conditions:
- Chronic cardiovascular disease including heart failure (class I/II), coronary artery disease, malignant tachyarrhythmia or cardiomyopathies
- chronic liver disease
- chronic neurologic or neurodevelopmental conditions including cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS or dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease)
- chronic pulmonary disease including COPD or severe and/or uncontrolled asthma
- chronic renal disease
- HIV (CD4 cell count ≥ 200 × 106/L and CD4 percentage ≥ 15%)
- severe systemic autoimmune disorders (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, myocarditis, rheumatoid arthritis)
- type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus (poorly controlled and/or with complications)
- active tuberculosis (current or previous) OR current latent tuberculosis (LTBI)
- receiving immunosuppression therapy
The priority two group also includes people receiving homecare three times a week or less, or receive any level of Community Living Disability Services supports. Priority two also includes household contacts of people in the priority one group with chronic health conditions, or a designated support person for personal care home residents.
OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE ELIGIBLE
The provincial guidelines also said anyone who is aged 18 to 64 and is already eligible for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in Manitoba is also eligible to receive the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine instead. However, the province said they must use the same vaccine for the first and second dose.
"We do believe that creating this list is the right way to go to save lives and prevent people from ending up in the hospital," said Reimer.
Reimer said those who fall into the priority one group can expect a call from their doctor about booking an appointment.
The province has also released a map showing all pharmacies and clinics in Manitoba that have been allocated vaccine doses.
Those who are eligible to receive the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine can look on the map to see which clinics and pharmacies are taking vaccine appointments. If a location is red on the map, it means they are not accepting appointments.