All Indigenous people over the age of 18, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, are now eligible to make appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson made that announcement Monday morning.
"All Indigenous people are now able to make appointments at any super site, pop-up clinic or urban Indigenous vaccine clinic," says Stefanson. "This will help people across the province access the vaccine and reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19 or having any serious outcomes, protecting themselves and their communities."
The minister notes the expansion is for sites that offer the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Eligibility for the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is provided at medical clinics and pharmacies, will remain for people aged 40 and over or people aged 30 to 39 with certain medical conditions.
"We have seen consistently that First Nations people have made up 50 to 60 per cent of all COVID-19 admissions to intensive care units, and we want to ensure that all Indigenous peoples in Manitoba can access the vaccine as soon as possible," says Dr. Marcia Anderson, public health lead for the First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team. "Getting the vaccine will not only protect the person, but also their family members and loved ones, which is critical to saving lives and protecting the capacity of the health-care system."
Beginning today at 11:45 am, Indigenous peoples in Manitoba can call toll-free 1-844-626-8222 (1-844-MAN-VACC) to book appointments at super sites, pop-up clinics or urban Indigenous clinics. Daily hours of operation are from 6 am to 8 pm. People can also book online at https://protectmb.ca.
In addition, people booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment by phone can access service in over 100 languages and also request professional interpreter services to be arranged for their appointment at a super site.
"We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to get vaccinated quickly,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead, Vaccine Immunization Task Force. “I encourage everyone to book their appointment as soon as they can, to help protect themselves and the people around them.”
For more information on Manitoba’s largest-ever vaccination program, visit https://protectmb.ca/.