Pokes in parks: Vaccine pop-up clinics coming to a Manitoba provincial park near you

COVID-19 vaccine pop-up clinics will sprout at Manitoba parks over the next few weeks as part of an effort by the province to boost immunization numbers by going where the people are.

Health teams will set up outside campgrounds, near concession stands or beaches, offering first and second doses, the province said in a news release on Friday.

All doses will be administered on a walk-in basis over a two- to three-hour period, with Pfizer available for the 12-17 age group and Moderna for those 18 and older.

Bringing immunization teams into campgrounds makes it easier to reach people where they already are, making immunization easy and accessible, Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson said  in the release.

Focused Immunization Teams (FITs) will be at the following campgrounds on the following days:

  • July 16 — Childs Lake campground in Duck Mountain Provincial Park, from noon to 2 p.m.
  • July 16 — Asessippi beach and campground in Asessippi Provincial Park, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • July 17 — Kiche Manitou campground in Spruce Woods Provincial Park, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Pop-ups are also being planned for the week of July 25 at Clear Lake in Riding Mountain National Park.

Additional provincial, federal and private campgrounds will be added to the list in the following weeks, Stefanson said in the release.

Anyone planning to be immunized at a campground is encouraged to bring a consent form with them, but forms will also be available at the sites.

The rate at which people are getting vaccinated has been levelling off in Manitoba, which prompted a one-day vax-a-thon on Wednesday in an attempt to boost to the numbers. The province hoped to dole out 20,000 doses that day but ended up giving out less than half that — 9,070.

The percentage of eligible people who’ve had first doses increased just 0.2 of a percentage point between Wednesday and Thursday, and second doses went up only slightly more, by 0.8, in the same time.

As of Thursday, 76.9 per cent of eligible Manitobans had at least one dose and 59.3 per cent had two doses, according to the province’s vaccination dashboard.

The province has started to offer incentives for those who are fully vaccinated.

Those who are two weeks past getting their second dose can go to movie theatres and museums and attend pro sporting events as part of the upcoming changes in restrictions.