Manitoba COVID-19 hot spots getting priority vaccine access expected to be revealed Friday

Manitobans can expect to learn on Friday which COVID-19 hot spots in the province will get priority access to vaccines for all residents and certain front-line workers over the age of 18, in an effort to slow the rise of the pandemic’s third wave.

Earlier this week, members of the province’s vaccine implementation task force said those people would be able to start booking appointments on Friday. 

More details about which communities will get priority are expected to be announced at a news conference at 12:30 p.m. CT.

CBC will live stream the news conference on our website and on Facebook, Twitter and Gem.

On Wednesday, the vaccine task force announced it would prioritize workers in a number of categories working in areas of the province with high rates of transmission and severe outcomes from COVID-19.

That list includes people who work: 

  • At a school.
  • As a child-care or daycare provider.
  • In a food processing facility, including as a food inspector.
  • As a public health inspector or workplace safety and health officer.
  • At a grocery store, convenience store or retail gas location.
  • Anywhere that serves or provides food, including restaurants, food banks and soup kitchens.

Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead on the task force, said they planned to release the list of the communities they planned to target at the same time as the categories of front-line workers, but decided to have a statistician review their data.

On Thursday, Manitoba saw the highest jump in new COVID-19 cases since mid-January, with 261 confirmed cases. 

Using data starting in October, around the start of the pandemic’s second wave in Manitoba, the task force will base its decisions on which communities to prioritize based primarily on rates of transmission.

Other factors it will consider include population density, the proportion of racialized populations, average income, and an assessment of housing, Reimer said.

More than a quarter of Manitobans have received at least one dose of a vaccine. As of Thursday, the province had administered 308,113 first doses.

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