Is Manitoba prepared to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s top doctor announced on Monday that the province is prepared to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at any point if it’s approved and shipped to Manitoba.

“We are in a position to begin administering a vaccine if necessary, if that opportunity avails itself to us,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, at the daily COVID-19 briefing at the Manitoba Legislative Building.

This comment comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada will be getting an initial batch of up to 249,000 of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine before the end of December. The first shipment is expected next week.

Roussin said he doesn’t know how many of these doses are coming to Manitoba.

“We will be able to receive anything shipped to us and be able to implement a program,” he said.

As for whether the province has established a rollout plan now that the potential of a vaccine is on the horizon, Roussin said the province is working on it. He said the government has a good idea of how it will roll out the vaccine should it get early doses.

“It’s going to be a very limited rollout for these early doses,” he said.

“And then, even into the new year, we’re expecting very scarce resources of scarce quantities. So we’ll have very strict criteria that we’ll have to follow.”

He noted that people need to expect a limited vaccine supply early on, with a limited scope of who can be immunized.

Roussin added the province will provide more details on the rollout plan and storage of the vaccine in the near future. He noted Manitoba is prepared for the Pfizer vaccine’s “difficult storage requirements,” specifically that it has to be stored at an ultra-low temperature.

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