Manitoba will drop the age of eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine to 18 and older on Wednesday, Premier Brian Pallister said in question period on Tuesday.
Pallister spoke the same day the province lowered the age of eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine to 24 and older, the fifth time it has been lowered in the last week and one day after dropping it to 30.
“We need to get Manitobans vaccinated, and we are, and thank you to our vaccination team for getting us to 24 plus today and 18 plus tomorrow,” Pallister said in the Legislature.
Public health officials said last week that they are planning to vaccinate 12- to 17-year-olds and they will likely become eligible by May 21.
All Indigenous adults, people living and working in certain front-line roles in specified COVID-19 hot spots, pregnant adults, adult clients of Community Living DisAbility Services clients and first responders such as police officers and firefighters are already eligible to book an appointment at one of the province’s supersites or pop-up clinics.
To make an appointment at a supersite or pop-up clinic, use the province’s online booking portal, or call 1-844-626-8222.
The pace of vaccinations in Manitoba increased over the past week as more supplies arrived. Delays in shipments of the Moderna vaccine had previously caused a slowdown in the rollout as the province was forced to scale back its pop-up clinics.
More than 10,000 doses were administered in Manitoba on Monday and the current seven-day average for daily doses administered is at 9,754, up from 7,968 a week earlier. The province estimates it will administer 82,944 doses of vaccine between May 10 and 16.
As of Tuesday, 45.4 per cent of adult Manitobans have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Health officials have said they plan to start making second-dose appointments for some people on May 22.
The first to be eligible for second doses will be immunocompromised people and those with certain medical conditions. Once they are vaccinated, priority for second doses will be based on when people got their first shot.
On Tuesday, Ontario paused its rollout of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine due to the risk of rare blood clots, joining Alberta, which announced it has stopped administering first doses of vaccine due to supply concerns. A statement from the Manitoba government says it plans to continue its COVID-19 vaccine rollout as planned.
“Of a total of 84,000 AstraZenca doses, 76,000 doses have been administered via our distributed channel partners,” said a provinceial spokesperson by email Tuesday. “The federal government has informed Manitoba’s task force that more shipments of AstraZenca will be forthcoming. No date was provided.”