This may feel like a Christmas present to some 900 additional priority health-care workers who have been invited to book COVID-19 immunization appointments next week.
Premier Brian Pallister has just confirmed today, Dec. 18, that Manitoba is receiving a second shipment of the Pfizer vaccine. An improved booking system has opened for 900 new immunization appointments.
“This was a monumental week in Manitoba as the first few hundred doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered to the first priority group of health-care providers, bringing long-awaited hope to many Manitobans and protection for the health-care system,” Pallister said today. “By end of day today, we will have immunized 900 health-care workers on the front line of this pandemic, and as we secure more vaccine supply, we’re able to open up 900 more opportunities for immunization to protect our health-care workers and the Manitobans they care for.”
The immunization clinic at the University of Manitoba Rady Faculty of Health Sciences campus opened Dec. 16 for its initial three-day run. Now, it is now booking a second wave of appointments just days before Christmas, beginning Dec. 21 to 23 for an additional 900 health-care workers from the same priority group as the first wave awaiting immunization.
Manitoba’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force provided booking information internally to the health-care system. With just 900 more doses, these appointments are only available to a select priority group of health-care providers.
“We want to remind Manitobans these first priority appointments are only available for eligible health-care workers at this time and the phone lines should be reserved for their use,” said Pallister.
“We expect additional shipments of the vaccine in the coming weeks and we will expand eligibility criteria as supply is confirmed from the federal government so we can work toward providing a vaccine to all Manitobans who wish to receive one.”
In response to the significant call volumes and long waits experienced by health-care workers during the initial round of appointments, the province has added a number of improvements to streamline access for eligible health-care workers. These include improved initial screening questions as well as the addition of phone operators to help ensure bookings are made as quickly and effectively as possible.
The priority population eligible to be immunized remains the same and individuals who meet the criteria can make their appointment by phone from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily until all appointments are filled. As the vaccination requires two doses, a second appointment is required in 19 to 23 days.
Individuals who are eligible for immunization are health-care workers whose work involves direct contact with patients and who also meet one of these other criteria:
• work in critical care units, born on or before Dec. 31, 1970;
• work in acute care facilities, born on or before Dec. 31, 1960;
• work in long term care facilities, born on or before Dec. 31, 1960; or
• be assigned to COVID-19 immunization clinics.
More information about the vaccine campaign in Manitoba, including eligibility criteria, is available at www.manitoba.ca/vaccine.
The province is also hiring individuals to help conduct the vaccination campaign. This includes positions like clinic managers, immunization clinical leaders, immunization team members, clinic navigators and post-immunization observation team members. Retired doctors, nurses and other health professionals, as well as medical and nursing students, are all encouraged to join Team Manitoba’s COVID-19 vaccine response as a vaccinator. More information can be found at www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/vaccine/jobs.html.