Health officials say those who have medical conditions that make them more vulnerable will be prioritized to receive a new COVID-19 vaccine.

There will be two lists for Manitobans to be prioritized to receive the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine from doctors and pharmacists. Five hundred medical clinics and pharmacies have signed on to put the non-mRNA vaccine into arms. They will do their own appointment booking. 

"Our clinical advisory team believes that this reflects who is at highest risk," Dr. Joss Reimer says in a Wednesday press conference. 

She says the AstraZeneca/Covishield's 18,000 doses vaccines have a quick expiry date and need to be used in the next few weeks.

Included in Priority List One is:

  • Individuals with the following chronic health conditions:
  • end stage renal disease undergoing hemodialysis OR peritoneal dialysis
  • cirrhosis due to any cause OR portal hypertension
  • heart failure (class III/IV ), ventricular assist device OR adult congenital heart disease stage C and D
    • severe COPD, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease OR cystic fibrosis
    • history of cerebral vascular accident with residual deficits
    • malignant hematologic disorders including leukemia and lymphoma OR clonal blood disorder
    • malignant neoplasms (solid tissue) who will receive or are currently receiving immunosuppressive therapy including chemotherapy
    • severe obesity (BMI ≥ 40)
    • receiving one or more of the following immunosuppressive therapies: B cell therapies (e.g., rituximab, ocrelizumab), cyclophosphamide, alemtuzumab, calcineurin inhibitors, chronic dose prednisone >=20mg/day, mycophenolate, sulfasalazine and JAK inhibitors (e.g., tofacitinib)
    • solid organ or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (candidate or recipient)
    • trisomy 21 (Down’s syndrome)
    • asplenia or hyposplenism (including sickle cell disease)
  • Individuals receiving home care ≥ 4 times/week OR receive 24/7 support from Community Living Disability Services.
  • Pregnant individuals (18 to ≤ 64 years of age) with one of: aged ≥ 35 years, BMI ≥ 30, pre-existing diabetes, pre-existing hypertension, cardiac or pulmonary disease.

Included in Priority List Two is individuals with the following chronic health conditions:

  • Chronic cardiovascular disease including heart failure (class I/II), coronary artery disease, malignant tachyarrythmia OR cardiomyopathies
  • chronic liver disease
  • chronic neurologic OR neurodevelopmental conditions including cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS OR dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease)
  • chronic pulmonary disease including COPD OR severe and/or uncontrolled asthma
  • chronic renal disease
  • HIV (CD4 cell count ≥ 200 x 106/L and CD4 percentage ≥ 15%)
  • severe systemic autoimmune disorders (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, myocarditis, rheumatoid arthritis)
  • type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus (poorly controlled and/or with complications)
  • active tuberculosis (current or previous) OR current latent tuberculosis (LTBI)
  • receiving immunosuppressing therapy

Those in healthcare aged 18-64 could also receive this vaccine. Dr.Joss Reimer says if someone has one dose, they will need to stick with the dose type they have already received.

reimerReimer says there will be more people on the first priority list than AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccines. (Screenshot: Government of Manitoba/YouTube

People can review their eligibility for the vaccine here

Some of the clinics and pharmacies will be labelled 'Green,' allowing people to call them for an appointment. Shipping begins tomorrow, potentially giving its first dose early next week.

"Future shipments could be coming as early as later on in March, but we don't yet have any dates or quantities."

The province says they will trust the clinical staff's health assessments when someone arrives for a vaccine, not requiring proof of conditions.

Manitoba is continuing its general population vaccination rollout.

Morden's super site at the Access Event Centre is opening on March 22. Beausejour, Gimli, Pine Falls, Ashern, Morris, Portage la Prairie, Dauphin and Flin Flon will be seeing pop-up sites in the next two weeks. Community popups will be in communities for one or two days to immunize as many people as possible.

Those booking an appointment can call 1-844-626-8222 (1-844-MAN-VACC) between 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., starting tomorrow for rural Manitobans.

People can book appointments for more than one person.

“Now that we are finally receiving a regular, consistent supply of the vaccines, we’re able to expand how we deliver it to make it easier for more eligible people across the province to get vaccinated quickly,”  Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson says in a statement.