Public Health is strongly urging Manitobans to get a third COVID-19 vaccine before the holidays, shortening their recommended wait time for some Manitobans.
The province is asking people to get their third COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are eligible.
"Manitobans are strongly urged to receive their third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine before attending gatherings and holiday celebrations," a Friday statement from Public Health says.
Manitobans aged 18 or older living in First Nations communities will not have to wait the recommended six months between second and third COVID-19 vaccines if their second dose was on or before on or before July 10. Those aged 60 or older can get their third dose, if they got their second on or before on or before July 10. This adds roughly 100,000 more people to the eligibility list.
Dr. Marcia Anderson says people living in First Nations communities have a higher risk, and is concerned that low third dose uptake is lower than what she thinks it can be. Anderson says that while communities may have few or no COVID-19 cases, it can spread fast.
To date, more than 107,000 third COVID-19 vaccines have been given out, including to people who are immunocompromised and booster shots.
Second doses for youth
Younger Manitoban children will be able to get a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with the time between doses varying depending on where the child lives.
On Friday, the province of Manitoba has announced that children aged five to 11 years old can get a second COVID-19 vaccine. They must wait eight weeks between doses, or if living in First Nations community, 21 days.
For those who have not gotten a vaccine yet, COVID-19 vaccine task force medical lead Dr. Joss Reimer says "please do not wait another day. There are literally hundreds of locations in Manitoba."
Reimer is from the Southern Health region and has family and friends living in the area. The low vaccine uptake rates and high test positivity rates are personal for her.
"We talk about Southern a lot, and as someone who is from there, whose family is there, it is heartbreaking to see the high numbers that continue when we know we have a tool that could help prevent it. Every death that I see in the region, and some of these being people that I know or are friends of the family, it just hits us really hard."
On Friday, 64 of the 198 new COVID-19 cases came from Southern health, with most of those people not being fully vaccinated.