Service in more than 100 languages: Manitoba helps people access COVID-19 vaccine bookings

Manitobans booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment by phone can now get service in more than 100 languages.

The provincial government announced the expanded service on Wednesday, which includes accommodating requests for an interpreter, available by phone, at a supersite on the day of vaccination.

When people book appointments through the provincial call centre at 1-844-MAN-VACC (1-844-626-8222), they can ask to speak to someone in their preferred language, Health Minister Heather Stefanson said in a news release.

The call centre will then connect with an interpreter service and use three-way calling to link up with an interpreter.

American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter services can also be requested for supersite appointments and will be provided by tablet or computer, the news release says.

Ultimately, the goal is to get as many people immunized as possible, Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province’s vaccine implementation task force, said in the release, noting April 24 to 30 is National Immunization Awareness Week in Canada.

Better language access is a key way to reduce barriers for some people, she said.