All Manitoba care home residents to be offered COVID-19 vaccines over next month

All people living in Manitoba’s personal care homes will have a chance to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine over the next month as part of a campaign that starts Monday, the province said Wednesday.

“We want to make sure that for our seniors in personal care homes that they are looked after because they’re vulnerable,” Premier Brian Pallister said at a news conference.

“Significant fatalities have occurred in personal care homes right across the world and our folks that live in them deserve our protection and our love.”

The campaign will begin by vaccinating roughly 1,157 people at seven sites across all the province’s health regions next week, a news release said.

Those sites are Boyne Lodge in Carman; the Charleswood Care Centre, Tuxedo Villa and Oakview Place in Winnipeg; Hillcrest Place in Brandon; St. Paul’s Residence in The Pas; and Tudor House in Selkirk.

Those sites are the first of the province’s total 135 care homes that will see residents immunized with either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines over 28 days, the release said.

Every care home resident who wants the vaccine will be immunized, regardless of whether their site has had a COVID-19 outbreak or whether they have previously had COVID-19 — as long as no other medical conditions exclude them from getting the vaccine, the release said.

All residents will get both doses by mid-March, Pallister said on Wednesday.

The province’s plan is to immunize an estimated 9,834 care home residents, the release said.

The plan is contingent on the federal government continuing to deliver the vaccine to Manitoba as expected, the release said.

Sometime next week, the province will release a timeline for residents in other care homes to get vaccinated. Over time, it’ll ramp up weekly immunizations.

Immunization teams in each health region will prioritize facilities by measuring the vulnerability of each site, basing it on the number of residents and percentage of shared rooms, the province said.

More vaccine super sites coming

Two new vaccine super sites open in Manitoba over the coming weeks, after the province’s first site opened at Winnipeg’s RBC Convention Centre on Monday.

The next site will open at Brandon’s Keystone Centre on Jan. 18. In early February, a third immunization super site will open at the Thompson Airport, which will serve people in the northern city and surrounding communities by air and ground.

Of the 7,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine that have arrived in Manitoba, 5,300 are going to First Nations communities. Plans for getting those doses there is being finalized now, Pallister said.

“These processes take a little longer at the start, but they’ll serve us well as we move through this,” he said.

Pallister said the province wants more doses of the vaccine, and will be ready to distribute them as soon as they get them from the federal government.

“Our limiting factor isn’t our capabilities here. Our limiting factor is how fast we can get the vaccine,” he said.

“We haven’t got enough water to fill the fire hose, we got enough water for a pop gun here, for a squirt gun, right now.”

As of Tuesday, 5,165 people in Manitoba had been vaccinated against COVID-19, Pallister said.

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