Some Manitoba home care workers now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

The Manitoba government has expanded the COVID-19 immunization eligibility criteria to include some home care workers, and has outlined its plans to establish a supersite in Brandon.

The eligible home care workers must be employed by a regional health authority (RHA), a company that has a contract with a RHA to provide home care or be employed by a family or individual to provide at-home care, according to a news release from the province issued on Sunday.

Those eligible must also be born on or before Dec. 31, 1960.

On Saturday, 851 more people received the first dose of the vaccine, the province says.

To date, Manitoba has received a total of 22,230 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which includes approximately 7,020 doses delivered earlier this week.

The province says the remaining 12,500 doses of that vaccine will be used for appointments for first and second-dose immunizations at the Winnipeg supersite this week.

The province is anticipating the arrival of 9,360 more doses next week, and one-third of them — roughly 3,100 — are earmarked for Brandon to launch the supersite at the Keystone Centre on Jan. 18.

In addition, Manitoba has received 7,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 5,300 have been allocated for First Nations. 

The remaining Moderna doses will go to people in personal care homes starting Monday, according to the province.

Some first responders eligible

On Saturday, the province expanded the eligibility criteria to include first responders born on or before Dec. 31, 1975.

That includes paramedics, emergency medical responders, nurses and respiratory therapists who perform emergency response services and those who work in patient transportation by land and air.

The announcement was made a day after Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said he wanted clarity on when paramedics and other front-line essential workers would be eligible to book appointments for their first dose of the vaccine.