Selkirk COVID-19 immunization supersite opens to serve Manitoba’s Interlake-Eastern health region

The supersite meant to serve Manitoba’s Interlake-Eastern health region opened in Selkirk, Man. on Monday.

Donna May Innes, a volunteer and retiree, was among the 192 people who got their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the former site of Selkirk and District General Hospital.

“It’s a relief,” she said. “I won’t be afraid to go out to the store and stuff, like I was before.”

To date, across Manitoba, 90,927 doses of vaccine have been administered. That includes 60,593 first doses and 30,334 second doses.

Innes won’t get her second dose for four months.

The health region hopes to administer roughly 1,000 first doses this week at the Selkirk supersite. There are also plans to do pop-up vaccination clinics to ensure everyone who wants to be immunized can access their doses close to home. (Mike Deal/Winnipeg Free Press)

On Wednesday, Dr. Joss Reimer, head of Manitoba’s vaccine task force, said spacing out the doses by up to four month will offer protection to more people faster, citing the latest real-world evidence that suggests it still offers high levels of protection.

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine recommendations advise administering two doses of the mRNA-based vaccines spread apart by three and four weeks, respectively.

Innes doesn’t mind, though.

“I accept what the scientists are saying,” she said.

Shannon Montgomery, the regional director of public health and wellness for the health region, says the supersite has the capacity to do 2,000 shots a week.

It will also serve as a distribution centre for pop-up clinics in the health region to ensure vaccine doses are available close to home for anyone who wants it.

“We’ll keep that rotation through the region going until we get all the Manitobans with shots in their arms,” she said.

Another supersite coming

The province also plans to open a new supersite in the Morden-Winkler area later this week. 

The site at the Access Event Centre in Morden is set to open the week of March 12, and will serve the Southern Health region. 

Once the site opens, the province will have supersites in all five health regions. These will also serve as distribution centres for mobile immunization teams and pop-up clinics in the regions.

Eventually, the province plans to open 13 supersites.