Manitoba age eligibility expands to 59 and over: The latest COVID-19 vaccine info
As of April 14, over 299,821 doses had been administered to Manitobans
Eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine expanded to include Manitobans 59 and older, and First Nations people 39 and over, the province announced on Wednesday.
As of April 14, over 299,821 doses had been administered to Manitobans.
So far, Manitoba has received more than 458,410 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines. Health Canada announced on March 5 that it has also approved the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.
The province announced last week that it would have to postpone pop-up clinics in 18 communities scheduled to open April 12 to 15 due to two delayed shipments of Moderna vaccines. The delays will affect around 7,200 people.
Two telephone town halls will be held with Health Minister Heather Stefanson, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin, plus Dr. Joss Reimer and Johanu Botha from the vaccine implementation task force, to discuss the vaccination campaign with the public.
One session dedicated to rural and northern Manitoba was held on April 13, and another focused on people living in Winnipeg will be held on April 15 at 6:30 p.m.
CBC Manitoba has compiled the latest information to help Manitobans figure out whether they are eligible and how to get an appointment:
- Age categories: The latest age eligibility, as well as timelines for future eligibility.
- First Nations: First Nations people can access the vaccine at ages 20 years younger than the general population.
- Front-line workers: New categories of workers continue to be added to the eligibility list.
- High-risk conditions: Some people with certain conditions are eligible for the AstraZeneca-Oxford shot.
- Vaccination locations: The province plans to offer the vaccine through more supersites.
How to book an appointment
Family members or caregivers will be allowed to make appointments on behalf of someone else, but will need to provide the number on the health card of the person getting the vaccine. The number to call for appointments is 1-844-626-8222, and the line is open daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT.
People calling to book an appointment can expect to hear an automated voice recording for initial eligibility screening, then an eligibility questionnaire conducted by the person who answers the phone.
The information they collect includes contact details. There is also a callback option available instead of waiting on the phone.
Although health officials ask people to have their health cards ready when calling to book an appointment, eligibility for the vaccine does not depend on having a Manitoba health card. Anyone who has lived in Manitoba for at least a month, regardless of immigration status, can get a vaccine, task force medical lead Dr. Joss Reimer said on March 24.
As of March 5, the province has stopped booking second-dose appointments on the same call, and will instead notify people when it's time for a second dose. People who already have an appointment to get their second dose can keep it.
The province's website also has a list of what to take to your vaccination appointment.
An online booking system launched on March 17. Eligible people can make appointments online for one of the vaccine supersites in the province. The online system is not available for booking appointments at medical clinics or pharmacies.
The online booking system requires an email address and a health card number. The call centre also remains open for booking appointments.
People age 55 to 64 with certain medical conditions can book appointments at medical clinics and pharmacies to receive the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine.
Some physicians and pharmacists will call patients to let them know they can book an appointment, while others require patients to call them first. The province has a map of locations where the vaccine is available, which indicates whether patients must call or wait to be called.
On April 7, the province announced it would expand eligibility for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to people 65 and older, with priority given to people who can't get to a pop-up clinic or supersite.
The province suspended use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in people under the age of 55 on March 29, hours before the National Advisory Committee on Immunization made that recommendation.
That came after concerns of a potential link between the vaccine and a serious form of blood clot, found primarily in young women in Europe. Any risk that may exist is very rare, officials said, and Health Canada is investigating further.
On April 14, the federal agency announced it would not restrict the use of the Astra-Zeneca-Oxford vaccine, and people should not hesitate to get it.
When can my age group get vaccinated?
On March 3, the Manitoba government announced that it would start basing vaccine eligibility on age at the time of booking, rather than birth year, to make the information easier to understand.
All Manitobans 59 and older and First Nations people 39 and older are now eligible for the vaccine.
Timelines for when specific age groups will be eligible vary depending on how much vaccine Manitoba receives from the federal government, and assume 70 per cent of eligible people actually get the vaccine.
The plan as of April 9 outlines two scenarios: one with a low supply and one with high numbers of doses.
The first scenario is based on Manitoba getting vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford. It's not yet clear how pausing AstraZeneca's use in people under 55 will affect that timeline.
The second scenario is based on the province having all four approved vaccines — from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca-Oxford and Johnson & Johnson — plus a shot from Novavax, which has not yet been approved.
Under the low-supply scenario, the youngest cohort of adults is expected to have gotten first doses by the middle of June. The target for administering first doses to that group under the high-supply scenario is May 21.
All dates are estimates based on federal supplies. Each group starts with the oldest and moves down incrementally.
The province started vaccinations for the general public with those 95 years of age and over — several thousand people — on Feb. 24 and is working its way down in increments.
Anyone 60 and older is now eligible for a vaccine. The province projects these timelines for all remaining age groups:
- Low supply: April 15-May 7.
- High supply: April 5-20.
- Low supply: May 3-17.
- High supply: May 3-17.
- Low supply: May 17-28.
- High supply: May 5-18.
- Low supply: May 25-June 14.
- High supply: May 6-21.
There are no details for this age category. Vaccines from Moderna, AstraZeneca-Oxford and Johnson & Johnson are currently authorized for people 18 and older, while Pfizer-BioNTech's is approved for 16 and older.
Those working in the riskiest of settings — hospitals — started receiving their vaccines in mid-December as part of Stage 1 of the province's vaccination plan.
In the province's vaccination timelines under both high- and low-supply scenarios, all health-care workers were expected to be vaccinated by the end of March.
Anyone 18 or older who works in an acute-care facility, congregate living facility or licensed personal care home is eligible. Health workers assigned to a COVID-19 immunization clinic, designated COVID-19 testing site, or designated COVID-19 alternative isolation accommodations facility are also eligible.
People who work in certain community services settings are also eligible. That includes those providing direct care in homeless shelters, family violence shelters, emergency placement shelters and second-stage housing.
It also includes people working in Community Living disABILITY Services and child and family services, though Manitoba Families will identify eligible staff there and contact them directly to make vaccination appointments.
People working in a slew of other settings in Manitoba are also eligible to get vaccinated, regardless of whether they have direct contact with patients or residents. Those places include emergency response and specialty patient transportation services, long-term care facilities, correctional facilities and dental offices.
Health-care workers in outpatient settings such as clinics, diagnostic imaging, laboratories, patient transport, blood donor centres, surgical centres, elderly day programs and home-based care are also eligible.
Immunization teams finished vaccinations in personal care homes around the end of February. They began visiting long-stay hospitals and supportive housing facilities in the first week of February. Since then, those teams have been immunizing residents at hundreds of congregate living facilities in the province, including correctional facilities, homeless shelters and transitional housing facilities.
The province released a list of congregate living facilities it planned to vaccinate between April 5 and 11.
What about people working on the front lines in other jobs?
Manitoba is looking at which essential workers should be prioritized in the vaccine queue, but it'll take time to decide.
Officials are consulting with various groups and looking at the research on risk factors plus the epidemiology of the virus. It could be April before this group is defined and vaccinations begin.
In other provinces, essential workers included teachers, grocery store workers and first responders.
Some Manitobans with conditions that put them at a higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 are being prioritized to receive the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in doctors' offices and pharmacies.
Those clinic and pharmacy appointments are only be available to Manitobans age 55 to 64 with certain high-risk health conditions, and anyone else 65 and older.
While Health Canada authorized the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine for use in adults of all ages, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization initially recommended against using the shot for people 65 and older. On March 16, NACI reversed that recommendation, approving the vaccine for those over 64.
A full list of the conditions that make people eligible for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which is split into two priority groups, is on the province's website.
Those already eligible for other COVID-19 vaccines (like health-care workers) age 55-64 are also eligible to get the AstraZeneca-Oxford shot — as long as they haven't already gotten a first dose of a vaccine made by another company.
All First Nations people 39 or older are now eligible for the vaccine.
On March 5, health officials announced that vaccination teams would be heading to all First Nation communities in Manitoba starting in mid-March. Entire communities will be immunized at once.
First Nations communities were among Manitoba's earliest priority groups, with each community receiving a portion of the Moderna vaccine. Those earlier shots were given to people over 70 in non-remote communities and over 60 in isolated communities, along with essential health-care workers.
Under the province's age-based vaccine rollout plan, the age of eligibility for First Nations is set at 20 years younger than the general population. This reflects the disproportionately severe outcomes suffered by First Nations people who catch COVID-19.
The eligibility dates for the remaining age groups among First Nations people living off-reserve are as follows:
- Low supply: April 15-30.
- High supply: April 5-20.
- Low supply: May 3-17.
- High supply: April 20-May 4.
This will change over time. Right now, the province has five vaccination supersites — one each in Winnipeg, Brandon, Selkirk, Thompson and Morden.
A second Winnipeg supersite is set to open at the WSF Soccer North facility at 770 Leila Ave. in Garden City on May 7.
The province now has supersites in all five health regions. These will also serve as distribution centres for mobile immunization teams and pop-up clinics in the regions.
The province plans to eventually have 13 supersites.
The province was forced to postpone pop-up clinics in 18 communities scheduled to open between April 12 and 15, and stop booking appointments at six others between April 7 and 9, after delays of two shipments of Moderna vaccine.
A schedule on the provincial government's website includes opening dates and addresses.
The province has started distributing vaccines to some doctors' offices and pharmacies, which is expected to increase accessibility for many Manitobans. The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, approved by Health Canada on Feb. 26, doesn't require the same degree of cold storage as the previously approved Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, making it suitable for distributed delivery thorough clinics and pharmacies.
Those deliveries went out to sites across Manitoba's five health regions, with hundreds of sites expected to be eligible in future rollouts. For now, only people with certain health conditions (and those who were already eligible, like health-care workers) can book an appointment.
A map showing which clinics and pharmacies are taking COVID-19 vaccine appointments is available online.