Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite to open Monday
4,000 shots will be given in first week at southwestern Manitoba vaccination site, province says
Shots will start going into the arms of Manitobans eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in Brandon on Monday.
The province gave a tour Wednesday of the immunization site it has set up inside the Keystone Centre in the southwestern Manitoba city, located about 200 kilometres west of Winnipeg.
Twenty-one stations are set up in one of the centre's convention rooms, which will be open 12 hours per day, seven days per week.
The province hopes to administer more than 4,000 shots in the first week.
"This is an exciting advance in our exciting plans to get vaccines into the arms of Manitobans as fast as we can, but we want to get it right first ... this supersite in Brandon is going to be a key part in getting it right," Premier Brian Pallister said following the tour.
The Brandon site is the second large vaccination centre to open in Manitoba, after one opened at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg last week.
But the province's vaccination campaign has not been without its criticism.
The Manitoba Liberals and NDP say the rollout has been too slow and they want to see a more robust plan from the government.
Pallister admitted on Wednesday there have been some small issues, but said he's confident those have been sorted out.
"All I can say is be patient with the hiccups," he said. "We're creating an historic rollout of a vaccine in the middle of a pandemic.... We're not going to fail to have hiccups, but we're not going to fail to address them."
WATCH | Manitoba to open second vaccination supersite:
The premier also walked back some of his previous criticism of Ottawa.
Last week, he blamed the federal government for failing to get vaccines out to the provinces more quickly.
"It wasn't entirely fair," Pallister said Wednesday of his criticism.
"I want to say it's Team Canada time now, you know, and the federal government's working hard to get vaccines to us," he said. "No premier wants their province to be the limiting factor that blocks getting more vaccines out."
People vaccinated at the Brandon site will get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which needs to be stored at extremely cold temperatures. Residents in personal care homes, including those in Brandon, will get the Moderna shot.
Pallister said staffing at the Brandon vaccination site is still a moving target, but more than enough people have stepped up to help.
"We have more applications than we have positions right now," he said. "What I would like to see, and I think every premier would agree, is we'd like to see more vaccines as soon as possible."
A third site will open in Thompson in early February.