New emergency order lets Shared Health investigate if Manitoba health-care workers cut line for vaccine

The Manitoba government is taking action to see if people have cut in line to receive a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine earlier than they should have.

A new order under the Emergency Measures Act — which came into effect Wednesday — will allow Shared Health to investigate the eligibility of health-care workers who have been vaccinated, says a news release issued by the provincial government Friday.

“The emergency order announced this week establishes an audit process to determine if there may have been a notable volume of ineligible vaccinations,” a Manitoba government spokesperson told CBC News in a statement.

“Should this audit find such evidence, the order also establishes a process to take further action if warranted.”

The new order, which is in effect until April 15, applies to any vaccination applications made since Dec. 12, 2020.

Per the order, Shared Health can review information in a person’s vaccination application against other information it has in its possession, to make sure the information is accurate and that the person was eligible for vaccination.

Shared Health can disclose information to a regional health authority or department, so that agency can verify information. The agency receiving information must review the application versus other information in its possession, the order says.

If the agency finds that an individual was ineligible for vaccination, it must send all information it has about the person to Shared Health, the order says.

If Shared Health cannot determine whether someone jumped the queue, it can approach an employer, “other person or entity identified in a person’s vaccination application” to ask questions. The person or agency must share all of its information about the individual in question, upon request by Shared Health.

If the investigation confirms that someone gave false information in order to be vaccinated early, then that will be disclosed to the person’s employer, professional regulatory body, or a police service, the order says.

The auditing process to track potential queue-jumpers is still new, so the spokesperson said “it would be premature to speculate on its findings” thus far.