List of high-risk communities where vaccine eligibility will be expanded expected later this week

Manitoba didn’t announce April 21 which high-risk communities will see vaccine eligibility expanded to include anyone over age 18 but the list is expected to be released later this week.

The communities where expanded eligibility will apply will be those where the risk of transmission is highest and vaccine tack force medical lead Dr. Joss Reimer said statisticians were going over the proposed list to ensure the the people getting prioritized are really those at higher risk.

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Vaccine eligibility for super sites and pop-up clinics dropped to include anyone 50 or over as well as First Nations people 30 or over and front-line police and firefighters. Anyone 40 or over is eligible to receive the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine which is being administered at doctors’ offices and pharmacies, including those at Safeway, Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart in Thompson. Reimer said there have only been two cases of the side effect in which recipients develop blood clots with low platelets after receiving that vaccine in Canada and that the rate is about five per million. She also noted that it is a treatable condition

When the list of priority communities is released, eligibility will also include anyone who works in those communities in certain occupations, including in schools, in child care or in food service, even if they actually live elsewhere.

Reimer said there is no question that adding more people to those who have already been vaccinated will reduce the severity of the pandemic’s third wave in Manitoba. Public health officials are already seeing trends reminiscent of the start of the second wave in October, she said.

A total of 364,389 doses of vaccine have been given to Manitobans, including 293,995 first doses. Manitoba has received 521,910 doses of COVID vaccine. Johanu Botha, co-lead of the vaccine task force, said the current supply will be used up within a week-and-a-half.

22,015 Northern Regional Health authority residents have received first doses of vaccine so far and 5,042 have received second doses.

Appointments are available at the Thompson super site and at the Indigenous-focused immunization clinic at the Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre that is expected to open the week of May 3 by calling 1-844-626-8222. Appointments at the super site can also be booked online at https://protectmb.ca with an email address and health card number.

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