Vaccine clinics, language interpretation for people booking appointments, getting vaccine

Expanding language accessibility to help more Manitobans access vaccine: Stefanson

Effective today, people booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment by phone will be able to access service in over 100 languages and also request professional interpreter services to be arranged for their appointment at a super site, Health and Seniors Care Heather Stefanson announced today.

 “Being able to access care in your preferred language helps people better understand the information they’re being provided and makes the experience more comfortable, equitable and accessible,” said Stefanson. “We believe this expansion to the services we offer will encourage more Manitobans to make their appointments and get the vaccine sooner.”

article continues below

 When people call 1-844-MAN-VACC (1-844-626-8222) to make their appointment, they can identify that they would like to speak to someone in their preferred language. The call centre will then connect with an interpreter service and use three-way calling to support the client in booking their appointment with the help of a professional interpreter.

In addition, people booking through the provincial call centre can now request spoken language interpreter services at a super-site appointment, which will also be provided by phone. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter services can also be requested for super-site appointments and will be provided by tablet or computer.

“Immigration Partnership Winnipeg’s mandate is to identify gaps and barriers on the path of integration for newcomer, immigrant and refugee communities,” said Hani Ataan Al-Ubeady, director, Immigration Partnership Winnipeg. “One of the persistent barriers to accessing the vaccine for these communities is having access to information and support in their first/preferred language. We appreciate the province’s effort in making the vaccine more accessible through language interpretation services. This will help to reduce further disparities COVID-19 has on newcomer, immigrant and refugee communities.”

“We want as many people as possible to get the vaccine,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead, Vaccine Immunization Task Force. “Better language access is one way that we can reduce barriers for people who are eligible to get the vaccine. Immunization does not just protect the people who get immunized – it protects those around them too. I encourage everyone to book their appointment as soon as they can, to protect themselves and those they love.”

 The minister noted that April 24 to 30 is National Immunization Awareness Week in Canada, an annual event held in the last week of April to highlight and recognize the importance of immunization.

 “Medical experts say vaccines are some of the safest and most-studied types of care provided in the health system,” said Stefanson. “Manitoba offers dozens of vaccines at no charge to the public to prevent not only COVID-19, but other illness such as influenza, measles, mumps, chicken pox and other serious illnesses. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they are eligible to prevent these diseases from spreading to others.”

 For more information on National Immunization Awareness Week in Canada, visit:

www.immunize.ca/niaw.

For more information on Manitoba’s vaccine program, visit https://protectmb.ca.

© Virden Empire-Advance