Northern Manitobans deserve a better vaccine rollout plan. Despite concerns from local community members in the Flin Flon constituency and across the north, this government continues to push forward with its disastrous Thompson Vaxport supersite plan. There is also a plan in the works to open another supersite vaccine clinic in either Flin Flon or The Pas, but to date they still haven’t said where this site will be located.
Shipping people to Thompson on planes and buses will not only be time-consuming – it can take some communities eight to 12 hours to get to Thompson – but it also goes directly against public health messaging to stay apart from others. Why not roll out a plan similar to how personal care home residents were vaccinated and bring more vaccines to people? We should not be forcing our most vulnerable to travel and risk their safety in order to protect themselves from COVID-19. That’s just common sense.
Saskatchewan has unveiled a plan that focuses less on “supersites” like we have here in Manitoba and on more, smaller clinics. By mid-March they expect to have 226 different vaccine locations across the province, 150 of which are larger clinics and the rest are drive-thru or mobile clinics. How is it that our neighbouring province – similar in size and geography – is much further along in their plan? Fortunately for the Pallister government, it’s not too late to reverse course by listening to northerners and abandoning their overly centralized vaccine rollout plan. However, they should do so quickly as it seems like vaccine shipments will soon be increasing. It will be much easier to avoid these problems by planning now rather than having to make changes on the fly.
I’ve reached out to the health minister’s office several times to try and voice my concerns on the vaccine rollout, but have only ever spoken with her assistants. They’ve repeatedly told me that someone would get back to me but to date no one has.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, I can reached by phone at 204-687-3246 or by email Tom.Lindsey@yourmanitoba.ca.