'We have to aim higher': COVID-19 vaccine incentive program coming to Manitoba
WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba government will be announcing an incentive program next week to encourage residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine.
Premier Brian Pallister announced the upcoming program at a news conference on Thursday, saying that residents need to follow public health orders and get both their vaccination doses.
“The best way to get Manitoba through this pandemic, to shorten this third wave is to get needles in arms as fast as we can,” the premier said.
“Our vaccine team has been working really, really hard to make that possible.”
Pallister noted the province has formed a team of people, including representatives from business associations and community groups, to come up with creative ideas for how to reach out to Manitobans and encourage them to get the vaccine.
“So we can get back to doing the things we love with the people that we miss,” he said.
Pallister said most, but not all of the patients in Manitoba’s hospitals and ICUs, have not been vaccinated. He added that most of the people across the province contracting COVID-19 also have not gotten vaccinated.
“Sadly, too many have chosen to ignore the public health orders,” Pallister said.
“Our health officials are telling us that they’re very concerned that number has increased as a percentage of cases.”
Pallister said going forward Manitobans have an important choice.
“If you haven’t chosen to get a vaccine yet, these words are for you: I respect your right to choose. Your body is your body. Your decision is your decision. But you’re not alone in the impacts of that decision,” he said.
“So consider that. COVID is evil. It robs your breath. It robs your strength. It robs your freedoms. It can take your life. There are real consequences to getting COVID and I don’t want those consequences to happen to you.”
The premier added that he doesn’t think it’s helpful to talk about herd immunity, as it would mean hundreds of thousands of Manitobans who didn’t get the vaccine would still not be protected against COVID-19.
“That’s not safety. That’s not protecting everyone as best we can,” he said.
“I think we have to aim higher. I think we must aim higher.”
Pallister said there is a three-step plan to success: follow the public health orders, get vaccinated for the first time, and then get vaccinated for the second time.
The premier thanked those who have already received their first dose, asking them to plan for their second dose.