First responders and all adults living in geographical areas of the province are severely affected by COVID-19 and are eligible for vaccination soon.
Health Minister Heather Stephenson announced changes to the COVID-19 vaccine criteria during her inaugural speech in front of a telephone townhall on Thursday on Manitoba’s immunization strategy.
“The third wave is starting in Manitoba, and it is very important to protect those who are in danger and those who are overweight,” Stephenson said.
Leading police officers and firefighters working anywhere in the province will be added to the qualifying list in the future. Among the as yet undeclared hotspots, priority will be given to those with 18-year-olds and senior-level front-line jobs, including manitobans and teachers.
The minister told callers that information including which geographical areas are considered hotspots and when appointments will be open to first responders will be made public next Wednesday.
The panel of experts is pouring in local data and statistics from other provinces to come up with a plan to identify geographical areas and how to identify priority frontline workers in upcoming qualification changes, and Medical Lead Jazz Reimer said. Vaccination Task Force.
Stephenson and Reimer, along with the state’s top physician, Dr. Brent Ruchin, and co-chair of the vaccination task force, Johannu Botha, asked questions about the release of the vaccine over the phone from Winnipeg residents.
“I know my members will be very happy that we are now on the priority list. This is something we have been arguing for some time,” said Mo Saborin, president of the Winnipeg Police Association.
Fifty to 60 police officers have tested the virus since it was first detected in Manitoba, Saborin said, while hundreds of members had to be isolated as a result of exposure on the job.
Town Hall was the second of two held this week; Participants came from early, northern and rural communities on Tuesday.
Questions about the time and eligibility criteria for the second level dominated both city halls.
A Winnipeg caller posed the question of what considerations are being offered to move teachers, truck drivers and grocery writers on the vaccine priority list. Another asked why public transportation employees were not given priority in the new qualification expansion on Thursday.
In response, Stephenson said the task force was looking at ways to vaccinate those at high risk of contracting the virus, citing the National Advisory Council on Immunization on Priority Groups.
The current list of vaccine eligibility in Manitoba includes the following: general population aged 59 or over; First Nation population 39 years of age or older; Health care professionals and home care staff; Residents and staff in congregation life organizations; And persons working in laboratories handling COVID-19 samples.
Following these high-risk populations – all of which are listed in the first phase of the National Guidelines on Vaccine Rolling – adults in racist and marginalized communities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, followed by police officers and firefighters.
Essential workers who are almost unable to work are next in line according to national guidelines.
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At the end of the townhall on Thursday, Stephenson was encouraged to get the jab as soon as he qualified for all the manitobans.
The appraiser noted that tens of thousands of people attended Thursday night’s call.