Police in Manitoba will soon be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and in some geographical areas people over the age of 18 will be severely affected by the disease.
Justice Minister Cameron Friesen announced the change to police after a virtual town-hall meeting Thursday evening.
“I am pleased to report from the Govt-19 Vaccine Town Hall tonight that police in our province are a priority and will soon be eligible for the MP vaccine,” former Health Minister Frysen tweeted after the announcement. “Details coming soon.”
According to a provincial spokesman, vaccination of manitobans over the age of 18 will be a priority in some geographical areas.
The province is in the process of changing the eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Earlier this week, Dr Jazz Reimer, medical lead on the province’s vaccination task force, said the province was considering essential workers as part of the change.
“We have seen in Wave 2 and are starting to see in Wave 3, some parts of the province, some geographical areas are generally at high risk of spreading and are at high risk of severe consequences,” Reimer said Wednesday.
The province primarily uses age as a qualifying requirement, especially for the elderly who are at high risk of becoming ill or dying from COVID-19. Reimer said it would be possible to vaccinate essential workers, all those aged 59 and over who are eligible to be shot.
‘Greatest relief’: Police Association
The president of the Winnipeg Police Association, which represents more than 1,400 police officers and about 450 civil servants, is pleased to hear that police officers will be given priority for the Govt-19 vaccine.
“Being included in the vaccine release list is a great relief to a lot of members. There is a lot of stress associated with being on the street every day because our members do not have the ability to work from home,” said Maurice Saborin.
“[Police] You can not wash your hands, you can not do your PPE, where you have to go hand in hand with a person without knowing any information about the person.
Many top officials have expressed fears about bringing the corona virus home to their families, and have sent out daily calls from union members about when police can take precedence, Saborin said.
He said he expects officers to register their immunization appointments once they are completed.