Manitobans can get boosted earlier, province’s top doctor says

Manitobans should get their COVID-19 booster shots even if it’s been less than six months since their last shot.

Manitoba’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin told Global News Thursday the province is “softening” their guidance around COVID-19 vaccine timing.

“Even if you’re within that six-month mark, do go get that updated COVID shot,” he said.

The province had previously recommended waiting six months between doses, but with respiratory illnesses on the rise, Roussin says the decision was made so those with waning immunity can up their protection.

“We’ve heard some from some Manitobans that they’re close to six months, maybe four or five months since their last shot. They really want to be updated, and so we don’t want to be a barrier to that,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

According to the province’s weekly respiratory surveillance report, the number of COVID-19 cases has been climbing for the past three reporting periods, with 312 new cases from Nov. 12-18.

Children’s Hospital Medical Director Dr. Karen Gripp told 680 CJOB last year’s respiratory virus season was unusual, with a rise in cases occurring in the summer, and high rates continuing through the winter. Presentations at the HSC Children’s Emergency Department are up in the past week, bringing them to levels similar to November of last year.

“In the last four to five days we’ve seen a significant jump in our numbers, up to 30 or 40 more patients a day than even just last week,” she said.

That amounts to about 160 pediatric visits per day with respiratory illnesses.

“We will see if this is just a blip, but it certainly is going to be the beginning of a busy winter,” Dr. Gripp Said.

Dr. Roussin encourages the public to protect themselves from possible transmission by wearing a mask, hand washing, and social distancing.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba COVID-19 and flu update'

Manitoba COVID-19 and flu update

&© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.