Manitoba

Liquor and Lotteries official assumes new role as Manitoba immunization-clinic director

The province has seconded Kurt Janzen from the Crown corporation to serve as the new director of Manitoba's COVID-19 immunization clinics, a spokesperson for the Progressive Conservative government said Friday in a statement.

Province seconds Crown corporation employee to serve in logistics role

Manitoba's new immunization-clinic director comes over from Liquor and Lotteries. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/The Associated Press)

The new person in charge of provincial immunization clinics has experience distributing shots — he comes over from Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries.

The province has seconded Kurt Janzen from the Crown corporation to serve as the new director of Manitoba's COVID-19 immunization clinics, a spokesperson for the Progressive Conservative government said Friday in a statement.

Janzen has spent 15 years at Liquor and Lotteries and has an MBA, according to his LinkedIn biography.

Janzen is responsible for logistics, hiring, scheduling and payroll and will not serve in a clinical role, the provincial spokesperson said.

"In this role, Kurt's primary responsibility is the workforce hired for the immunization campaign and related operations. Mr. Janzen brings over 15 years of province-wide operations and logistics experience to this role," the spokesperson said.

"He reports to Lynda Tjaden, the executive director of population and public health, who is the operations lead for the COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Task Force and has 29 years of health-care experience."

The opposition NDP criticized the choice.

"While I don't doubt Mr. Janzen's management experience, and I thank him for stepping up to take on such a significant challenge, I do wonder why the PC government consistently ignores and devalues the expertise of health-care workers in this pandemic," NDP health critic Uzoma Asagwara said in a statement.

"There are Manitobans who have experience protecting the health and safety of families in emergency situations. Perhaps if the PCs had acted faster to fill this position months ago they may have been able to recruit one of them."

As of Friday, Manitoba has distributed 46 per cent of the vaccine doses it's received.

New appointments are not being made because of reduced shipments of the Pfizer vaccine.

Dr. Jazz Atwal, Manitoba's acting deputy public health officer, said the province is reviewing whether it has to cancel any appointments.

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