Manitoba’s new Minister of Health and Seniors Care, Heather Stefanson, toured the new COVID-19 vaccine supersite Wednesday at Brandon's Keystone Centre.
Minister Stefanson shared her thoughts on participating in the roll-out of the new Brandon vaccine clinic.
“I just want to say that I’m so honoured and humbled to be given this opportunity to help in what is a very difficult time for so many Manitobans and so many people around the world,” shared Stefanson.
“This is an unprecedented time for us and I’m just so honoured to be part of it along with our team of colleagues at the Manitoba Legislature; to really be part of this vaccine roll-out, and really helping people along the way here, to get them back into the routine of their lives which is really what this vaccine is going to allow us to do; to get back some semblance of normalcy, eventually, we’re not there yet.”
Brandon is the location for the second vaccine supersite in the province, the first being at Winnipeg’s RBC Convention Centre with a third location opening soon in Thompson on February 1st.
With the rollout of the new vaccine super sites, comes the question of logistics on vaccinating those at risk in our communities.
Minister Stefanson addressed the recent COVID outbreak at Brandon’s Samaritan House Ministries, which closed their Food Bank and Safe and Warm Shelter last week till next week Wednesday.
“Certainly, in my previous role as Minister of Families I had the opportunity to visit Samaritan House as well, and we spent about $3.5 Million preparing for COVID-19 in the homeless communities and we spread that out, and Brandon was a recipient of that as well as Samaritan House.”
“So, we’re very much aware,” she explained. “We were working mostly on a preventative side, obviously. We know that this does spread. We know that the challenges are out there, and we have a really good strong team here, as well as in Winnipeg and around, who are working tirelessly on this.”
The outbreak also shed light on the need for more supports for the homeless in the midst of the pandemic and during the winter months. Stefanson shared the role of an assigned individual within the Department of Families who works specifically with the needs of the homeless community.
“She [this individual in the Dept of Families] is responsible for the homeless community and ensuring that those needs are met. So, through that, we obviously work together as a team, and we’ll ensure that as we move forward with the vaccine roll out, again, as the Premier said, that will be determined by medical professionals as to the order of those who will receive it.”
“But we certainly work together as a team to ensure that we’re looking after that homeless community as well,” added Stefanson.
Written by Betty Sawatzky