Johanu Botha says de-emphasizing vaccine popup clinics is the province's next move for COVID-19 vaccinations.
The 'larger pipes" of vaccine supersites is how the province is moving forward with its vaccine plan, limiting pop-up sites. This is in part due to stable Phyzer shipments allocated to supersites and inconsistent Moderna shipments. Botha, co-lead of the COVID-19 Immunization Task Force, says supersites are a more efficient and quicker way to vaccinate.
"We are ready to do a bit of a shift," Botha says. "We will be putting doses in arms at a higher clip."
This means for the first time Moderna doses could be given in supersites.
"As long as doses go into an arm, all of Manitoba wins."
Steinbach is next to get a vaccination supersite. This site will open in May depending on vaccine supply. Botha does not yet know exactly when the site will open but says they are working with Southern Health. It will be located at 294 Lumber Avenue, the Royal Canadian Legion's address.
This is the second supersite for the region, the first being in Morden.
The snowstorm earlier this week did not make a large difference in vaccine attendance. Botha says overall, there is very little vaccine wastage, noting the approximate 2,300 doses since the start of the campaign is very low.
The leader says Manitoba is ranking fourth in doses per capita compared to other provinces but that does not mean their system is not efficient.
"Our system, from the beginning, has not been designed to do just speed," Botha says. "When we say we are very confident in our system, it means it reflects our ability to achieve the medical outcomes, which is 'get doses in arms, fast' but also serve remote and vulnerable Manitobans."
Botha says they are seeing a quick uptake when age eligibility opens but is continuing to see some people make appointments weeks after their eligibility.