Manitoba is expanding its third-dose eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 vaccine.
All Indigenous people, including First Nations living on and off reserves, Metis, and Inuit are now able to get a third shot if they are 18-years-old or older.
Dr. Marcia Anderson, the public health lead of the Manitoba First Nations Pandemic Response and Coordination Team says COVID-19 cases in First Nations communities are 4.2 times higher than the national average.
"Pre-existing gaps in health experienced by First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples also result in a higher risk of severe outcomes," Anderson says in a Wednesday press conference.
She says that the number of Indigenous people with pre-existing conditions associated with higher risks with COVID is also higher than average.
All Manitobans over the age of 70 are now eligible.
The province says third doses should be given at least six months after the second dose. They are recommending people receive the same mRNA vaccine as their second dose, but say either mRNA is safe.
Medical clinics, pharmacies, urban Indigenous sites and other vaccine clinics can offer this third dose.
Vaccine pop-ups will be happening this week in Winnipeg, including:
- on Wednesday at Garden City Collegiate gymnasium from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- from Friday to Saturday. Vital Centre near Hudson’s Bay from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- on Saturday and Sunday Kildonan Place near the food court from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The province is changing its recommendations about the time between first and second doses. They are doubling the recommended time period between doses from 28 days to 56 days.
"The longer time period between doses has been shown to provide a stronger immune response over time. However, the minimum time frame between first and second doses will remain at 28 days so individuals will be able to choose the timing of vaccine schedule based on their own circumstances," the province says in a statement.
To date, 2,090,806 doses of vaccine have been administered.