All adult Manitobans could get 1st dose of vaccine by May 18, task force says

Every eligible Manitoban could get their first doses of a coronavirus vaccine by May 18 after the province decided to delay second doses, officials announced Friday.

That timeline assumes vaccine shipments arrive steadily throughout the second quarter.

Under less ideal circumstances, in which the bulk of vaccine shipments arrive later in the spring, Manitoba projects it could vaccinate every adult Manitoban against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 by the end of June.

“We’re confident that we can do this, if the supply arrives more consistently,” said Johanu Botha, co-lead on the task force, during a technical briefing on Friday.

This significantly shortens the timeline for administering the vaccine. Previous projections had the province vaccinating the youngest cohort of eligible Manitobans, those 18 to 29, by the end of August at the earliest. 

Starting today, Manitoba will stop booking second-dose appointments.

Manitoba made the decision to delay second doses after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization said Wednesday that in the context of a limited vaccine supply, it now recommends extending the interval between doses to four months.

Also starting today, Manitobans can book appointments for more than one person when they call. For example, this will allow spouses to book appointments at the same time, as long as they are both eligible.

Health Canada has approved a fourth vaccine, this one from Johnson & Johnson, but Botha said that did not factor into Manitoba’s adjusted timelines because the province still doesn’t know how many doses of the new vaccine it will get or when.