WINNIPEG — Manitoba has released its plan for the future of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and which groups will be next in line to roll up their sleeves to get the shot – but it could change depending on vaccine availability around the globe.
On Wednesday, the province announced a plan that outlines four stages of the vaccine rollout and who will be included.
The first phase of the plan which has been underway since vaccines started to arrive in Manitoba in December, has prioritized residents in personal care homes, health-care workers in direct contact with patients, and adults in Indigenous communities.
The next stages will expand the eligibility.
The second phase, which is expected to begin as early as April, expands the number of health-care professionals able to get the shot. It will include, among other professions, all staff in personal care homes (even those without direct patient contact) over the age of 60.
Stage 2 will also see the general population get its first crack at the vaccine. The vaccine task force will begin vaccinating Manitobans over the age of 95 and will expand by age eligibility in one-year increments until reaching the age of 80.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends essential workers be included in this second stage. However, the province would not provide any information about the eligibility of essential workers or when they may be able to get the vaccine.
The province said it will be doing stakeholder consultation and more research into the epidemiologic factors and workplace health and safety before it makes any decisions.
Another unknown in Manitoba’s future vaccine rollout is the plans for immunization among First Nations. The province said it will be making a joint statement with First Nations about the rollout in the coming days.
The province said while the timeline is fluid, based on the current information, the next stage of the vaccine rollout will begin as early as April.
The timeline will change depending on the availability of the vaccines. Due to shortages of the Pfizer vaccine, the scenario with a low supply of the vaccine projects Manitobans will all have the chance to be vaccinated by the end of 2021.
Under the high supply scenario, all Manitobans who want the vaccine should be able to be vaccinated by the end of August 2021.
Based on Manitoba’s most recent information, health officials said the province ranks third across the country for total population vaccinated, beat only by Ontario and Prince Edward Island.
This is a developing story. More to come.
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