Manitoba has expanded its eligibility to be immunized with a COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone aged 57 or older and First Nation people aged 37 or older can now receive the vaccine.
Dr. Joss Reimer with the Vaccine Implementation Task Force says they will also soon expand the eligibility criteria to include all adults in priority communities as well as first responders, including police and firefighters. Dr. Reimer says more details will be released next week, as their team is still sorting out how a priority community will be defined. This team is made up of health experts from rural, remote and urban areas of the province.
“They are looking at postal codes, they are looking at health districts, they are looking at municipalities to ensure that the evidence that they are drawing on, is strong and that the way that we can communicate with Manitobans makes the most sense for how Manitobans see themselves geographically,” adds Dr. Reimer.
She notes the final plan for how those geographic areas will be defined has not yet been finalized but notes it will have to be narrow enough to match the supply of vaccines coming from the federal government.
Dr. Reimer says when determining what a priority community is, there will be some measurement of the number of cases or severity of cases in a geographic area. Though, she is not sure whether that will be broken down by wave or the entire pandemic and whether or not it will focus mostly on variants of concern.
“Certainly what we’ve seen as far as disease transmission in some way or another will be one of the driving factors,” she notes. “But I expect there will be other factors that get looked at as well.”
Meanwhile, the province has announced pop-up clinics for next week in four communities within Southern Health. All clinics take place from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm unless otherwise noted:
Steinbach: April 19, 20, 21 and 22 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at Pat Porter Active Living Centre, 10 Chrysler Gate
Gladstone: April 20 at Gladstone Stride Hall, 79 Fifth St.
Portage la Prairie: April 21 and 22 at Herman Prior Senior Services Centre, 40 Royal Rd. North
Morris: April 23 at Morris Multiplex, 380 Stampede Grounds