Three Winnipeg areas make up new priority spots for COVID-19 vaccines
WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba government has announced three priority areas where people over the age of 18 can now receive their COVID-19 vaccine.
In the vaccine bulletin released on Friday, the province said people living or working specific jobs in Downtown East, Point Douglas South, and Inkster East will now be eligible for a shot.
A map showing the priority neighbourhoods in Winnipeg,highlighted in blue, where people who live or work over the age of 18 can book a COVID-19 vaccine, (Image source: Manitoba Government)
The communities represent almost 35,000 people who either live or work in the areas according to the province.
Manitobans 18 and older who work in the following professions in the three neighbourhoods are eligible:
- teachers and school employees;
- Child care provider;
- In a food-processing facility;
- In a grocery or convenience store;
- at a gas station; and
- Anywhere that serves food (restaurants or food banks).
Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead of the Vaccine Implementation Task Force, explained why these areas were chosen.
"Our analysis has shown that these communities are particularly hard hit or at high risk for transmission,' said Reimer.
She said the risk analysis looked at COVID-19 rates dating back to Oct. 1, 2020, in those areas as well as population density, income levels, housing, and the percentage of racialized communities.
"Making the vaccine available to everyone who's over 18 in these areas is expected to help control the spread of the virus."
Reimer is encouraging everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine as soon as possible at either a supersite or pop-up site.
She also noted Manitobans won't have to wait long to learn about more priority areas as more are expected to be announced next week.
"These first three communities are truly just the first three," she said, "You'll see additional areas being included because they may have newer high case counts. We are trying to identify the communities that see a lot of ongoing transmission and really high risk of having outbreaks in the future."
She added that they are trying to predict areas that could be hit harder by ongoing transmission instead of focusing on communities that are already going through an outbreak.
For those who qualify, they can book online or call 1-844-626-8222.
PROVINCE REVIEWING NEW NACI RECOMMENDATIONS
The province's changes to the rollout come as the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) announced it is dropping the age eligibility of the AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone 30 years of age and older.
NACI said it is up to each province and territory to decide if they will expand the age limits on AstraZeneca.
A spokesperson for the Province of Manitoba said public health needs time to review NACI's recommendations and determine the next steps. They said until then, eligibility for the AstraZeneca vaccine will remain at 40 years of age and older.