'Vax-a-thon' for walk-ins coming to supersites July 14: Latest Manitoba COVID-19 vaccine info

Manitoba announced a day of walk-in COVID-19 vaccine appointments at supersites across the province on July 14. The initiative will include Pfizer doses earmarked for youth and Moderna shots for adults.

Nearly 53% of Manitobans age 12 and up now fully vaccinated; 75% have at least 1 dose

Dr. Barry Lavallee, CEO, Keewatinowi Inniniw Minoayawin, administers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to Alexander Herrera, 14, at the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre in Winnipeg, Monday, May 17, 2021. (Mike Deal/Winnipeg Free Press/The Canadian Press)

Next week, people across Manitoba will be able to walk into their nearest vaccine supersite to get immunized against COVID-19.

At a Wednesday news conference, Premier Brian Pallister announced the one-day "vax-a-thon," to be held next Wednesday — July 14. The initiative will see all nine of Manitoba's supersites open only for walk-ins that day in an attempt to spur vaccine uptake.

Doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be set aside for those 12 to 17 years old, while Moderna shots will be available for adults at each site, the province said in a news release.

Meanwhile, Manitoba has extended hours this week at five immunization supersites, after the province passed another of its important vaccination goals.

From July 6 to 10, the two supersites in Winnipeg — at the RBC Convention Centre and Winnipeg Soccer Federation North on Leila Avenue — will operate from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Three other supersites — in Brandon, Selkirk and Steinbach — will also see their hours extended.

With the exception of the RBC Convention Centre site, all supersites will accept walk-ins. RBC is by appointment only, aside from the July 14 "vax-a-thon."

Manitoba has also surpassed another vaccine uptake goal, weeks before its original August long weekend target date.

As of Wednesday, 75.3 per cent of Manitobans 12 and up have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 52.8 per cent have received two doses, according to the province's online vaccination dashboard.

The province's original plan aimed to start the second phase of Manitoba's reopening plan by the Aug. 2 Terry Fox Day holiday, provided a first-dose target of 75 per cent and a second-dose target of 50 per cent were met.

As a result, Pallister said Manitobans can expect new public health orders next week.

All Manitobans 12 and older are now eligible to book appointments for their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Due to a shortage of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in recent weeks, parents and caregivers are allowed to transfer their Pfizer appointments through the provincial call centre to those between the ages of 12 and 17. Pfizer is currently the only vaccine approved for those in that age group.

A total of 1,536,491 doses of vaccine have been administered in Manitoba as of Wednesday.

CBC Manitoba has compiled the latest vaccine information to help Manitobans.

How to book an appointment

Appointments can be booked for shots at a supersite or temporary clinic on the province's website or by calling the toll-free line 1-844-626-8222 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT.

You're also allowed to make appointments for someone else (like a family member or someone you provide care for), but you need that person's health card number.

You'll need an email address and health card number to use the online system.

A list of sites taking bookings is available on the province's vaccine finder map.

While you're supposed to have your health card number ready when you book an appointment, vaccine eligibility doesn't depend on having a Manitoba health card. Anyone who has lived in the province for at least a month — regardless of immigration status — and meets eligibility requirements can get the shot.

The province's website also has a list of what to take to your vaccination appointment.

Kids and teens age 12 to 15 can go with a parent, guardian or caregiver or on their own. If they go by themselves, they'll need to have a consent form signed by a parent or guardian (which teens 16 and older can sign themselves).

If they go alone and don't have that form, they'll need to go through an informed consent process at the vaccination site to assess their ability to consent on their own and get immunized.

Those who are eligible to book a second-dose appointment do not have to wait to be contacted by public health to book it.

You will need to have your health card ready and know what type of vaccine you got for your first dose and when.

Margaret Watson, 94 — a resident at Oakview Place long-term care residence who got her first COVID-19 shot on Jan. 11 — was the first member of the general public to receive the vaccine in Winnipeg. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

A limited number of walk-in appointments are available at all supersites, except for the RBC Convention Centre. The number of walk-ins may vary by day and by site, but are approximately 10 per cent of all doses available.

Priority is given to first-dose immunizations when possible.

Who gets what vaccine?

All Manitobans 12 and older are eligible to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at any of the province's supersites or urban Indigenous clinics

On June 17, the provincial government said it wouldn't open up new Pfizer appointments past July 7 due to supply shortages. On June 28, the province announced it would resume booking Pfizer appointments at supersites for the end of July.

Shots from Moderna and AstraZeneca are currently only authorized for people 18 and older.

Manitobans 18 and older can get vaccinated at any of the province's supersites or temporary clinics, which use shots from both Pfizer and Moderna.

Those 40 and up and people in their 30s with certain medical conditions are also eligible to get their first shots at pharmacies or medical clinics that use the AstraZeneca vaccine.

While AstraZeneca doses were previously reserved only for people unable to get immunized elsewhere, officials announced on June 9 that Manitoba had received another small shipment of AstraZeneca shots after a number of people who got that vaccine for their first dose expressed a strong preference for also getting it for their second.

People who received Pfizer or Moderna for their first dose can receive either for their second dose.

As of May 31, anyone who received AstraZeneca for a first dose can get a second dose of either of the two mRNA vaccines available in Manitoba: Pfizer and Moderna. 

While officials are still recommending Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for those who were initially given AstraZeneca, more AstraZeneca shots will now be distributed strategically across the province based on demand.

AstraZeneca is currently being offered at 15 medical clinics, pharmacies and regional hubs. Manitobans can track down sites with AztraZeneca on hand using the provincial vaccine shot finder webpage.

People who received a COVID-19 vaccine outside of Manitoba should contact the province to update their immunization information.

That email address can also be used to request other updates or corrections to a COVID-19 immunization. Individuals may also contact their local public health office with this information if needed.

When can I get my second dose?

All Manitobans became eligible to book their second doses as of June 25.

Sherry Plett, a registered nurse in the Southern Health region, celebrates after receiving her first COVID-19 dose at a vaccination clinic at Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg on Dec. 16, 2020. Certain health-care workers were prioritized as part of Stage 1 of the province's vaccination plan. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

For second doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford, the province's vaccine implementation task force recommends a 12-week interval between doses, but a physician or pharmacist can approve a second shot sooner for those who are immune compromised or have a greater risk of exposure to COVID-19.

People who got a first dose of AstraZeneca can receive Moderna or Pfizer for their second dose, as long as it's 28 days after the first and they meet eligibility requirements based on the date of their first shot.

The second-dose campaign is expected to wrap up by the end of July.

What about Indigenous people?

All Indigenous adults, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit people, have been eligible for vaccination since May 3, and eligible for second doses since May 24. Appointments for second doses can be booked if enough time has passed since the first shot.

Manitoba has opened immunization clinics aimed at Indigenous people in urban centres, including two in Winnipeg and one in Brandon. Similar clinics are also open in Portage la Prairie and Thompson.

A resident becomes the first in Peguis First Nation to get the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in January 2021. (Peguis First Nation/Facebook)

Officials have asked people to only get vaccinated at these sites if they're Indigenous or if they live with an Indigenous person.

The locations of the clinics are: 

  • Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre, 4 Nelson Rd., Thompson.
  • Brandon Friendship Centre, 205 College Ave., Brandon.
  • Prairie Fusion Arts and Entertainment centre, led by the Portage la Prairie Community Revitalization Corp., 11 Second St. N.E., Portage la Prairie.
  • Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre, 180 Higgins Ave., Winnipeg.
  • Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre-Win Gardner Place, 363 McGregor St., Winnipeg.

Appointments can be made through the province's call centre, and the site in Thompson can be contacted directly to book.

Where will I go?

The province has nine vaccination supersites — in Winnipeg (two sites), Brandon, Selkirk, Thompson, Morden, Dauphin, Steinbach and Gimli.

On top of vaccinating people, Manitoba's supersites serve as distribution centres for mobile immunization teams and temporary vaccine clinics.

Those temporary clinics, also referred to as pop-up clinics, have launched across Manitoba. Site locations are listed on the province's website.

The province's vaccine task force also announced on June 2 that it will be using mobile outreach vans, house calls and community-hosted clinics to bring COVID-19 vaccines closer to certain people.

I'm fully vaccinated. What's next?

Two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine provide the fullest protection possible.

People fully inoculated against COVID-19 (two weeks after getting a second dose) can get immunization cards. The cards exempt Manitobans who travel to other provinces from the self-isolation requirements upon their return.

The province also announced on June 23 that fully vaccinated residents will be able to dine indoors with members of different households and visit loved ones who are also fully vaccinated in personal care homes and hospitals.

They will also be able to attend large-scale outdoor sporting and performing arts events that are approved by Manitoba Public Health.

Getting vaccinated also gives Manitobans a chance to win cash as part of a vaccine incentive lottery program announced on June 9. There will be two draws: one for people who get their first dose by Aug. 2, and another for those who get their second by Sept. 6.

Anyone vaccinated by those dates will automatically be entered, though Manitoba residents who got vaccinated outside the province will need to register that immunization to be eligible. They can do that by emailing or contacting their local public health office before the draw.

There will also be a way to opt out for those who don't want to participate, officials said.

Vaccinated adults can win $100,000 prizes doled out across each health region, while those under 18 will be eligible to win $25,000 scholarships. Some of the details of those scholarships, like where the money can be used, are still being worked out.

MLAs won't be eligible to win, though, and neither will people involved with administering the lottery, or those lottery workers' immediate family members.

On May 26, the province's vaccine task force announced that two weeks after a person receives a second dose, they won't be required to self-isolate if they're considered a close contact of someone with COVID-19, as long as they don't have symptoms.

"This is another great reason to book your second dose as soon as you're eligible," said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the task force.