Eligibility announced in Manitoba for new Omicron COVID-19 booster

Following the approval of the Omicron-specific COVID-19 booster by Health Canada, Manitoba has announced the first group of residents who will be eligible to receive the shot.

Dr. Jazz Atwal, the deputy chief provincial public health officer, said based on the number of doses expected in the first shipment, eligibility will be open to the following residents:

  • Adults 65 and older;
  • Indigenous people 18 and older, no matter where they live;
  • Adults of any age with higher-risk medical conditions;
  • Health-care workers 18 and older; and
  • Residents of personal care homes and other congregate living facilities.

Atwal said Manitobans must wait six months from their last COVID-19 vaccine dose or COVID infection.

“However, individuals who meet the criteria can receive a bivalent vaccine after a minimum of three months if they feel they are at an increased risk,” said Atwal.

Appointments are expected to be available in mid-September. The first shipment of 27,650 doses is expected next week.

A second shipment of 77,600 doses is expected during the week of Sept. 12.

“Based on supplies and initial uptake among eligible groups, we expect to be able to expand eligibility for the bivalent vaccine to all Manitobans aged 18 and older in the coming weeks,” said Atwal.

Atwal also announced that starting on Sept. 12, all Manitobans aged 12 and older will be able to book an appointment for a fourth booster shot. However, Atwal is suggesting people wait a couple extra weeks until they are eligible for the Omicron vaccine.

“That’s because the bivalent vaccine is expected to provide additional protection from COVID-19, providing broader protection against two different COVID-19 strains and a greater overall defence for Manitobans.

“This vaccine will be available through regular channels, so just like you are getting your vaccine right now is how you should be able to get that vaccine, the bivalent vaccine, going forward. Again there will be limited supplies early on. Don’t fret if you have to wait for your appointment for a couple weeks, or even three weeks or four weeks. It’s okay to wait, it’s okay to wait for that appointment. The important thing here is, when that vaccine is available for you, book your appointment and get that bivalent vaccine,” said Atwal.

The province said walk-in appointments will no longer be happening at the RBC Convention Centre after Saturday, Sept. 10. The last day of operations at the centre will be Sept. 17.

A clinic will be opening at 1680 Notre Dame Avenue will appointments starting on Sept. 20. However, walk-ins won’t be available.

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