Manitoba tops vaccine milestone tied to next phase of reopenings
75.1% of Manitobans 12 and up have received at least 1 dose, 51.5% have 2
Manitoba has surpassed another immunization goal in its reopening strategy, which pins loosening restrictions to getting a certain percentage of eligible people vaccinated.
The second phase of reopenings is tied to reaching at least 75 per cent of eligible Manitobans with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 50 per cent with two doses by the August long weekend.
Manitoba surpassed the latter target on Monday and the former on Tuesday: 75.1 per cent of eligible Manitobans have received one dose and 51.5 per cent have received two, the provincial vaccine dashboard says.
"When we first set these targets we had the supply scenario at the time. And so they were challenging targets to meet at the time," said Johanu Botha, operations lead on the province's vaccine implementation task force.
A combination of increasing vaccine supplies, distribution capacity, and Manitobans coming out in droves meant the province reached its targets early, Botha said.
Premier Brian Pallister previously said if Manitoba beats its targets, Phase 2 of reopening could start earlier than August.
Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin recently said at least one incubation period (two weeks) needs to pass under the current restrictions before the province will loosen them further.
In the second phase of reopening, capacity limits in many businesses will increase to 50 per cent from 25 per cent.
Limits will increase again if 80 per cent of those 12 and up have received at least one dose and 75 per cent have received two by the September long weekend, the reopening plan says.
Pandemic-weary Manitobans told CBC News they were happy to see the province put another milestone behind it.
"It really shows people want to get this over and done with," said Chantal LeBlanc.
Doug Dennis said he wasn't sure the province would get to this point.
"I'm excited to see so many Manitobans get [the vaccine], so we're going to see the benefits," he said, adding that he hopes the provincial government doesn't lift pandemic health restrictions too quickly.
This is the second time in weeks that Manitobans' demand for jabs outpaced provincial reopening goals, aided in part by the introduction of walk-ins at various clinics and supersites.
The first phase of reopenings happened five days early, with restrictions easing on June 26. Manitoba topped its July 1 immunization targets earlier than planned, permitting some businesses to reopen at 25 per cent capacity ahead of Canada Day.
All Manitobans 12 and up have been eligible for the vaccine for several weeks.
Book an appointment through the province's website or by contacting the call centre at 1-844-626-8222.
So far, 1,517,959 doses have been administered in Manitoba.
With files from Bartley Kives