Manitoba does not expect to immunize everyone who wants COVID-vaccine shots this year

Manitoba does not expect to immunize everyone in the province against COVID-19 this year.

An immunization roll-out plan published by the province projects about 70 per cent of Manitobans will receive two doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines before 2021 comes to a close.

Both vaccines require two doses.

The projection is based on “how much vaccine may be available in 2021 and the percentage of Manitoba’s eligible population that may be immunized over that time,” according to the two-page document.

The document does not project when in 2022 all Manitobans who want to be immunized will have access to two shots of either vaccine.

The roll-out plan was published late Wednesday afternoon, hours after Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister claimed everyone in the province could be vaccinated by the end of March if sufficient vaccine supplies materialized.

Dr. Joss Reimer, who’s overseeing the vaccination effort, declined to corroborate that claim.

The roll-out plan also states Manitoba intends to fully immunize the equivalent of 3.5 per cent of the population against COVID-19 by the end of February with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The plan calls for 98,400 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be doled out by March 1. That’s equivalent to 49,200 complete immunizations.

To reach that goal, the province expects to ramp up Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations from about 7,000 shots this week to 16,500 doses a week by Feb. 22, according to the plan.

It also foresees a slowdown of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations during the final week of February, when the province exhausts the initial shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech formulation.

There is no projection in the document for Moderna vaccinations in the coming weeks.

The province plans to immunize 9,834 personal-care-home residents with the Moderna vaccine by the first week of March. That will require nearly 20,000 doses.

It is also shipping 5,300 Moderna doses to First Nations, starting today.

First Nations health authorities are prioritizing health-care workers at remote and isolated communities, personal-care-home residents, anyone 60 or over in remote and isolated communities and anyone 70 or over in all communities.

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