Province expanding criteria for Manitoba health-care workers to receive COVID-19 vaccine

The government of Manitoba is expanding the criteria of which front-line health-care workers are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Age criteria expanded to ensure all available vaccine is used

Health-care workers who work directly with patients in critical care units and long-term care facilities who are born on or before Dec. 31 1980, or born on or before Dec. 31, 1962, respectively, can now also get the vaccine. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The Manitoba government is expanding the criteria for front-line health-care workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

This week, 900 more workers are eligible to be immunized, but there are still about 300 appointments left, the province said in a news release on Sunday morning.

In an effort to ensure all the available doses are used, the province says it's expanding the age criteria.

Like in the previous round of vaccinations, only health-care workers assigned to COVID-19 immunization clinics and older health-care workers who are in direct contact with patients and work in critical-care units, acute-care facilities or long-term care facilities will be eligible for the first round of vaccinations, the province says.

To be eligible, those working in critical-care units must have been born on or before Dec. 31, 1980, while those who work in long-term care facilities must have been born on or before Dec. 31, 1962.

The previous criteria that those working in acute care must have been born on or before Dec. 31, 1960, remains unchanged.

The first shots will be given out at the University of Manitoba's Bannatyne campus, adjacent to Health Sciences Centre. That site was chosen because it has the capacity to store the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which must be kept at ultra-low temperatures.

The vaccine requires two doses; the second doses will be administered at the RBC Convention Centre site in three weeks, health officials have said. 

The historic first vaccines were administered in the province last Wednesday. So far, about 900 doses have been given out.

The province plans to establish more vaccination sites in Brandon, Thompson, Steinbach, Gimli, Portage la Prairie and The Pas, which will begin to launch in the new year as more vaccines become available.

As details about the type and amount of vaccine are confirmed, the province says it will provide further updates to Manitobans.