COVID-19 vaccine eligibility lowered to 18 for all Manitobans

All adult Manitobans who want the vaccine to protect against COVID-19 are now eligible to get one.

Manitoba opened up all vaccine appointments at pop-up clinics and supersites to those 18 and older Wednesday.

Vaccination appointments can be made by calling 1-844-626-8222 (1-844-MAN-VACC) or visiting the province’s website.

Manitoba will be the second province to allow all adults to be vaccinated, behind Alberta, which is currently booking people ages 12 and up.

Read more: Vaccine eligibility drops to 24 in Manitoba, premier says 18 and up will be eligible Wednesday

As of Wednesday, nearly 50 per cent of adult Manitobans have been vaccinated, said Vaccine Task Force co-lead Dr. Johanu Botha.

The province says it hopes to have 70 per cent of people aged 12 and older in Manitoba with their first immunization by June 6.

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While the province is ready to drop eligibility to 12 and older, it will do so after appointments slow down for the 18-plus cohort, said Botha.

“We’re still relying heavily now on the Pfizer shipments to get us to the bulk of the shipments,” said Botha, but once First Nations are vaccinated, the Moderna vaccines can then be more heavily utilized at the supercentres.

See the vaccine technical briefing data below:

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Waiting times at supersites have been reduced to nearly zero, and those making appointments by phone are waiting about eight minutes to do so, said officials.

The province appears to have no plans for halting AstraZeneca doses, which was done in Ontario recently.

Botha said he’s not concerned, from an operations perspective, about the number of appointments booked in the past few days.

Asked about possible vaccine hesitancy, he said Dr. Joss Reimer could talk more about that at a press conference scheduled for 12:30 Wednesday.

Global News will livestream that press conference at globalnews.ca.

As for second doses, Botha said May 22 is still the target to open up eligibility. He also said those who have received one type of vaccine may be able to switch to a different kind.

More information on that will come in the following days, he said.

“We are waiting for clinical direction on that.”

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