COVID-19 immunization super site opens in Winnipeg
Thousands of vaccinations to take place at RBC Convention Centre this week
A COVID-19 vaccination super site opened Monday morning at the RBC Convention Centre in downtown Winnipeg, where thousands of health-care workers will receive their first and second doses of vaccine.
As of Monday afternoon, about 4,500 health-care workers had appointments to receive their first dose of the vaccine this week, while 1,600 remained available.
Health-care workers leaving the site Monday morning said the process went smoothly and took only about about half an hour from lining up to getting their shot and then waiting to see if there were any adverse side-effects.
"I feel great. I'm happy and excited," said Rebecca Wazny, who works in an emergency department in Winnipeg.
Vicki Wiebe-Murphy, who works in the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Boniface Hospital, said she hopes more people can have access to the vaccine soon "so that maybe there is an end in sight to this."
A communication error saw 871 people with vaccination appointments get texts with the incorrect location information on Saturday, but the province said the correct information was sent to them Sunday and the issue has been addressed for future appointments.
Health-care workers dealing directly with patients in critical care units and COVID-19 immunization clinics or testing sites are eligible for the vaccine. Health-care workers who work with patients at long-term or acute care facilities, and who were born by Dec. 31, 1975, are also eligible.
Health workers confused, union says
Changes to eligibility requirements, as well as vaccination locations, have left some workers feeling confused and unsupported, said Bob Moroz, president of the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals.
Health workers wanting the vaccine get it on their own time, or else take sick time if they want to get it during work hours.
"It's just another sort of kick in the shins for our members," Moroz said.
Having the vaccinations concentrated at a single site in downtown Winnipeg, rather than in and around the Health Sciences Centre campus, has made it harder for some workers to access it, he said.
Rather than taking personal time to get the vaccine, Moroz said health workers need the time off "to rest and recharge for their next shift."
The association represents approximately 6,500 front-line health workers across the province, but currently the province's vaccine rollout program is very "Winnipeg-centric," Moroz said.
More super sites are planned to open in Brandon and Thompson, but Moroz would like to see additional sites, like community clinics, to bring the vaccine closer to where people live and work.
Vaccinations at the convention centre will take place on the ground floor of the north building.
People with appointments should enter the main entrance on York Avenue and line up. Metal fencing is in place to guide the lineup and maximize the number of people inside, with floor stickers indicating two-metre distances.
WATCH | Health-care workers get COVID-19 vaccine at Winnipeg immunization super site
Once through the lineup, people will walk up to tables to check in, answer screening questions and provide the necessary identification.
The super site currently has 11,700 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the province said in a news release. Manitoba has also received its first shipment of 7,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine, 5,300 of which will be allocated to First Nations, with the remaining 2,000 going to personal care home residents across the province.
The Manitoba government expects to administer roughly 10,000 doses per week during the month of January, said a vaccine bulletin issued Dec. 23.
- We initially reported that health-care workers who work with patients at long-term or acute care facilities had to be born on or before Dec. 31, 1972, to be eligible for vaccination. In fact, they must be born on or before Dec. 31, 1975.Jan 04, 2021 8:34 AM CT