Manitoba passes vaccination goals for 1st step of reopening

Manitoba has now reached its first vaccination goal under the provincial government’s plan to ease some COVID-19 restrictions by July 1.

The province’s vaccination dashboard says that more than 25 per cent of Manitobans 12 and older are fully vaccinated as of Monday afternoon.

On Wednesday, the province reached its July 1 target of 70 per cent of eligible people getting first doses. 

The Manitoba government’s reopening plan is tied to vaccination uptake targets. 

Under the plan, if at least 70 per cent of all Manitobans age 12 and older have received their first vaccine dose and 25 per cent have received their second dose by Canada Day, most businesses, services and facilities can open at 25 per cent capacity or greater levels.

If those targets are met sooner, then the province could open up sooner, Premier Brian Pallister said earlier this month. 

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said more details on that can be expected Wednesday. 

WATCH | Dr. Brent Roussin on meeting target for 1st stage of reopening plans:

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said Monday the province has surpassed its goal of getting first doses to 70 per cent of eligible Manitobans and second doses to 25 per cent. The province had aimed to hit that goal by July 1. 0:33

Asked if he felt pressured to speed up reopening plans because other provinces are moving more quickly, Roussin said Manitoba was late to the third wave of the pandemic.

“We’re going to have to do things based on what we’re seeing here and then move forward cautiously, but we’ll definitely be watching what other jurisdictions do and the successes that they have,” he said at a news conference Monday.

In Saskatchewan, the provincial government has said it will lift all public health measures by July 11 — including mandatory masks and gathering size limits — even though the province hasn’t reached its final COVID-19 vaccination target.

Roussin said Manitoba is also taking the emergence of the delta variant into account in its reopening plans. That strain of the coronavirus is more contagious and less sensitive to one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine than other variants.

Health officials will be watching other provinces as they reopen to see whether there’s a surge in new cases driven by the delta variant, Roussin said.

The next targets for vaccination uptake are 75 per cent or more eligible people receiving first doses and 50 per cent receiving second doses by the Terry Fox Day long weekend in August. If that happens, the provincial government will increase capacity limits for most business and services to 50 per cent.

If 80 per cent have gotten one dose and 75 per cent have two doses by Labour Day, the reopening levels will increase again, though some limits will remain, the province announced earlier this month.