Indigenous Manitobans who have had their first doses of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines will be able to start booking second-dose appointments as of 11:45 a.m. May 24, the provincial government announced May 21.
Those who received Moderna must have had their first dose at least 28 days before the second-dose appointment. For people who received Pfizer, 21 days must have elapsed between their first dose date and their second-dose appointment.
“Throughout the second and third waves of this pandemic, we have seen First Nations people make up 40 to 60 per cent of all COVID-19 admissions to intensive care units. Of these First Nations people, currently two-thirds of them live outside of First Nations communities and mostly in urban environments. That is why it is so important to get our communities – both on and off reserve – fully vaccinated as soon as possible,” said First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team public health lead Dr. Marcia Anderson. “Getting fully vaccinated will not only provide a greater level of protection to the individual, but to their family members and loved ones too.”
Second doses can be received at a different clinic than the one where the first dose was administered, as long as it is offering the same vaccine as the recipient had for their first dose.
Appointments at super sites, pop up clinics and urban Indigenous clinics, including the one at the Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre in Thompson, can be made by calling 1-844-626-8222 between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Appointments can also be booked online at https://protectmb.ca using an email address and your health card.
“This approach to second-dose eligibility will benefit all Manitobans,” said vaccine immunization task force medical lead Dr. Joss Reimer. “Our data has shown that First Nations people are more vulnerable to the virus for a number of systemic reasons and we’re seeing First Nations people are being admitted to hospital more frequently. The more people we can fully vaccinate, the safer our communities will be and we expect the strain will ease on our health-care system.”
As of May 20, 71,326 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given to First Nations people in Manitoba, including 53,963 first doses and 17,363 second doses. More than 50,000 doses have been given to First Nations people living on-reserve and just under 20,000 tho those living off-reserve. In the Northern Regional Health Authority, 21,319 first doses have been given to First Nations people and 9,054 have had second doses.
“This is excellent and much needed positive news for all First Nations in Manitoba,” said Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Arlen Dumas. “This pandemic has been challenging, especially for First Nations citizens, both on and off of reserve. I cannot underestimate how strongly I encourage all citizens to book their next appointment and get fully vaccinated. I am proud of and encouraged by First Nations uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine thus far. There is a sense of community in how we work as a team. This is something all citizens should be proud of. Getting the vaccine is not only protecting yourself, but it is an act that is honouring your loved ones.”