COVID-19 vaccine taskforce in Manitoba looks to determine priority groups

WINNIPEG — A Manitoba vaccine task force is working with national counterparts to determine who will be included in the priority list when the COVID-19 vaccine is ready in Canada.

With many across the country eager for the first few doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in Canada, Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said a task force in the province is looking to see who will be first in line to get the shot.

“We meet regularly with provincial, territorial and federal counterparts to look at that list,” Roussin said during a COVID-19 briefing on Monday.

“There might be small differences between regions, but for the most part we really hope that we could land on something nationally that will provide very, very similar, very aligned priority groups.”

Roussin said public health has been heavily involved with the task force, along with other levels of government looking at the logistics and procurement of the vaccine.

Pfizer’s potential vaccine, which boasts to be more than 90 per cent effective, could be approved for use in Canada before Christmas, Health Canada’s chief medical adviser says.

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While the federal government has not released a detailed list of who will be considered a priority to get the vaccine, it did outline four general groups that will be included:

  • Those at high risk of severe illness and death from the virus
  • Those most likely to spread COVID-19 to people at high risk and essential workers
  • Those working to maintain essential services
  • Those working or living in conditions that put them at higher risk of infection or where the virus could have ‘disproportionate consequences’ such as Indigenous communities.

This comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he expects to have half of all Canadians vaccinated by September 2021.

-with files from CTV’s Rachel Aiello, Avis Favaro, Elizabeth St. Philip, and Graham Slaughter.

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