Doctors Manitoba says the biggest challenge to getting the AstraZeneca will be supply, not demand.

Those aged 40 and older are eligible for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. All are eligible, eliminating the previous health requirements and age restrictions. 

“Tens of thousands of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine remain in clinics and pharmacies across the province, which is why we're expanding the eligibility criteria for the vaccine,” Health Minister Stefanson says in a statement. “I want to thank physician and pharmacy partners for their work to provide vaccine and look forward to the numbers of doses administered increasing quickly over the coming days.”

Doctors Manitoba says 27 out of 180 medical clinics have vaccine appointments available. A study the organization released Monday found  56 per cent of Manitobans have a hard time finding out when they will be eligible for the vaccine.

Doctors support expanding AstraZeneca eligibility, though we believe doses should be prioritized first to those most at risk from COVID-19.

The biggest limitation right now is vaccine supply. Only 27 clinics have vaccine appointments out of about 180 participating.

— Doctors Manitoba (@DoctorsManitoba) April 19, 2021

The organization says more doses can be delivered in medical clinics, amounting to 5,500 doses a day.

Appointments can be made online or by calling 1-844-626-8222 (1-844-MAN-VACC). Available doses can be found online. 

“Based on all of the evidence available internationally to date, we continue to believe benefits of the AstraZeneca/ Covishield vaccine to protect against COVID-19 outweigh any potential risks,” Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead for the Vaccine Implementation Task Force says. “Expanding the criteria will help us reach more Manitobans, particularly those who may face challenges or face barriers in going to a super site or pop-up clinic.”

Other vaccine delivery expansions will include or have included:

• implementing a more responsive ordering process for medical clinics and pharmacies;
• opening new super sites in north Winnipeg and Steinbach in early May; and
• adjusting the use of pop-up clinics by locating them in areas where there is a significant barrier for the majority of people to get to the nearest super site.