1st doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrive in Manitoba

The first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Manitoba. 

The initial doses landed in the province early Tuesday morning, the Canada Border Services Agency said.

Last weekend provincial officials said Manitoba will receive enough doses to vaccinate around 900 people to start, with the first doses going to health-care workers.

Now that the vaccine is in the province, the first injections are to be given as early as Wednesday. 

Premier Brian Pallister is expected to provide an update on Manitoba’s vaccination plans this afternoon. 

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, says a memo from Manitoba’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force.

To be eligible, those working in critical-care units must have been born on or before Dec. 31, 1970, while those who work in acute care and long term care facilities must have been born on or before Dec. 31, 1960.

On Monday, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said quantities of the vaccine will be very scarce at first but more is on the way.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that arrived Tuesday was approved for use by Health Canada last week, and a shipment arrived in Canada for distribution on Monday.

On Tuesday morning, the federal government announced that it has reached an agreement with Moderna that would see the first doses of that COVID-19 vaccine shipped to Canada within 48 hours of Health Canada approval.