January 27, 2021 – Manitobans Invited to Learn More About Province’s Vaccine Plans in Upcoming Town Hall: Stefanson
The province has released a four-stage immunization plan that builds on medical expertise and Manitoba’s current approach to the vaccine campaign, with the goal of protecting Manitobans at greatest risk of COVID-19 the soonest, Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson announced today.
“These priority groups are clear and based on the guidance of our medical experts,” said Stefanson. “We all want to get the vaccine to our most vulnerable people, and to every Manitoban who wants a vaccine, as quickly as possible. Now, we need the vaccine supply to put our plans into action. This is incredibly important work that is being led by the Vaccine Implementation Task Force, on behalf of all Manitobans.”
The plan sets out how Manitoba will further expand its immunization campaign to reach more Manitobans in priority groups, and then to all Manitobans, based on age. Manitoba’s approach follows the guidance provided by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on priority populations for the COVID-19 vaccine, tailored to meet Manitoba’s situation. The NACI guidance for priority populations includes:
• those at high risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19;
• those most likely to transmit COVID-19 to those at high risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19; and
• those whose living or working conditions put them at elevated risk of infection and where infection could have disproportionate consequences including Indigenous communities.
Manitoba’s plan identifies four main groups including:
• health-care workers and congregate living staff;
• residents of congregate living facilities;
• residents of First Nations communities; and
• Manitobans, based on age.
These groups are then also broken down into smaller groups, so those at greater risk are eligible to be immunized sooner.
The most vulnerable people within the first three groups have already started to be eligible for immunization. The priority plan helps to set out how Manitoba continues to expand its immunization criteria to more Manitobans on the basis of age, as vaccine supplies allow.
Manitoba’s plan is based on recommendations from its vaccine medical advisory table, which includes 27 physicians from a broad range of specialties, a pharmacist and two nurses.
“Our priority population sequencing reflects what we know about COVID-19, including who is at greatest risk of serious illness and who is most likely to be exposed to the virus,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical officer of health with Manitoba Health and Seniors Care and medical lead on the Vaccine Implementation Task Force. “The plan we’re releasing today builds on the work we’ve already done to immunize thousands of people. Now Manitobans will have a better sense of where they and their loved ones fit in the vaccine campaign as it rolls out in the weeks and months ahead.”
These priorities are in addition to pop-up vaccination clinics and Focused Immunization Teams (FITs) that can be used quickly immunize target priority populations.
The minister noted Manitoba is ready to rapidly launch a significant, provincewide immunization campaign to help protect as many Manitobans from the virus as quickly as possible.
Manitoba is now also actively planning to support the launch of new super sites across the province and expand capacity at existing locations. Once additional vaccine supply is received, the province will be able to deliver all vaccine the federal government is able to deliver.
As part of its plan, the province will continue to for immunizing other essential workers when additional vaccines become available in the future. These decisions will also be guided by epidemiological information, medical advice and occupational workplace safety and health. Additional immunization planning for essential workers may happen as additional vaccines become available.
Manitoba remains focused on providing full protection against COVID-19 to those most at risk. The province is currently third in the country for total population fully immunized, at 369 people per 100,000.
The minister also noted that Manitobans will have an opportunity to join her, Reimer and Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, at a telephone town hall on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m. To register and receive a phone call to join, visit https://engagemb.ca/restartmb-pandemic-response-system.
An overview of Manitoba’s prioritization strategy and more information about Manitoba’s COVID-19 immunization campaign are available at https://manitoba.ca/covid19/vaccine/index.html.
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