A registered nurse from the Southern Health region was among the first three people in Manitoba to receive a COVID-19 vaccine this morning.

“It’s important for me because I’m a front-line worker, I work in the emergency room,” offers Sherry Plett, “I just feel like I need to be healthy so I can be there and look after people in the community.”

A physician at the Health Sciences Centre, Brian Penner, says he too was grateful to be included in the very first round of immunizations.

“I think we are extremely lucky that we live in Canada and in Manitoba and that people have made huge efforts to get us this vaccine,” he comments. “There are hundreds of thousands of people in Manitoba alone who are deserving of the vaccine and somehow I ended up being eligible and being chosen. I am very fortunate.”

Penner continues. “I am now safer for my colleagues and my family and the patients that I see and look after can know that they are much less likely to be infected through me. I hope that everybody else will do their part and recognize the importance of getting the vaccine to limit the spread and the horrific number of casualties that we are now seeing.”

Sherry PlettSouthern Health Nurse Sherry Plett was excited to receive her first shot of the COVID-19 vaccination this morning. Photo credit: John Woods/The Canadian Press

The significance of today’s events was not lost on Premier Brian Pallister either.

“Today is a monumental day in Manitoba and a long-awaited day of hope as we begin to deliver the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine,” he says. “Our front-line health-care workers have been stepping up throughout this pandemic and we know that stepping up now to protect them first is the right thing to do, so that we can protect them and the patients they look after.”

COVID vaccineA vial of the COVID-19 vaccine. Photo credit: John Woods/The Canadian Press

Over the next three days, the province plans to immunize 900 health-care workers who fall into the first priority group and booked appointments in advance. Additional doses of vaccine are expected to be delivered to this province later this month and more appointments to be immunized will become available at that time. As details about the type and amount of vaccine are confirmed, the province will provide further updates to Manitobans.