Manitoba will offer a third dose of COVID 19 vaccine to more people in the province

The Manitoba government is allowing more people to get a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The province is suggesting a third dose for all health-care workers who have direct contact with patients in areas including hospitals, care homes, pharmacies and addictions treatment centres.

Read more: Former Manitoba anti-vaxxer credits family with changing his mind: ‘They did it with love’

It is also allowing anyone who has received only the viral-vector vaccines, such as Oxford-AstraZeneca, to get a third dose with an mRNA vaccine such as Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech.

Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of Manitoba’s vaccination effort, outlined the changes in a memo to medical professionals and said the third dose should be given at least six months after the second.

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She says the changes are based on data from clinical trials and observational studies.

Reimer is scheduled to provide an update on the province’s vaccine plans at a 12:30 p.m. press conference. Global News will stream the event live in this story.

COVID-19 vaccines are widely available in Manitoba, and Doctors Manitoba has a website that allows people to search for a physician in their area with doses on hand.

Read more: ‘The next few months will be critical’: Manitoba pushes to reach those leery of COVID-19 vaccine

“Emerging evidence suggests that immunity to a complete series of COVID-19 vaccination wanes over time, at least with respect to symptomatic infection,” Reimer wrote in the memo Tuesday.

“Effectiveness for healthy individuals remains high against severe outcomes — e.g. hospitalization and death.”

Manitoba has already offered third doses to people who are immunocompromised, who live or work in First Nations personal care homes, and people who received a vaccine and are travelling to countries that don’t recognize it.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, visit our coronavirus page.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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