Starting Friday, some teachers, grocery store workers, and more will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine as the province moves to focussing on specific communities.
Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the COVID-19 Immunization Task Force, says the province is moving to priority geographies. This will look at racialized populations, average income, and housing assessments to decide these.
A new list of people eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine has been released. Anyone in a priority geography over 18 years old, living or working, will be able to get the vaccine.
The workplaces of those who do not live but work in a prioritized area that are eligible for the vaccine include:
- school employees
- food processing
- child care
- public health inspector or workplace health and safety officer
- grocery store, convenience store, gas bars
- anywhere that serves food, including soup kitchens
On Friday the province will announce the high-risk locations being prioritized. This is the first round of prioritized workers. Pfizer and Moderna will be in popups and supersites, the anticipated vaccine delivery method of most of these eligible people.
Reimer and her co-lead JohanuBotha are unable to announce how geographic regions are being decided, as they are still being determined. A statistician is looking at the factors being considered to determine if they will be making divisions by health districts, neighbourhoods, and others. The statistician is also looking at how many people will be eligible.
Not all eligible would have identification for their workplace. Instead, the province is suggesting getting letters from employers. They will not be turning people away if they cannot provide workplace identification, saying the majority of eligible people will outweigh the ones trying to get a vaccine who are not.
A total of five Urban Indigenous Clinics will be opening in cities including Brandon, Winnipeg, Thompson, and Portage la Prairie. The province is adding walk-in vaccination sites.
Manitobans aged 18 and older experiencing homelessness will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. FITS will be going to shelters.
The province is looking at using Novavax and Jessen vaccines, along with Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines in the future.
Currently, Pfizer is the only incoming vaccine confirmed in the upcoming future.
"None of these supply chains are halting or pausing," Botha says.
Botha says the supply chain will stabilize and second doses will be available. Popup and FITs will see low immunization volumes next week due to a lack of Moderna doses.
First doses are expected to be completed for 70 per cent of the population in early June, either June 5 in a high dose scenario or June 9 in a low dose scenario.
This is a developing story and will be updated.