OHS Canada Magazine

Manitoba police, firefighters, teachers will be prioritized for vaccines


WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government says it will soon expand eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines to include first responders across the province and all adults living in communities most at risk of the coronavirus.

Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson says details will be released next week, but the plan is to include front-line police and firefighters.

She says in communities where the risk is greatest, all adults will be eligible, with an emphasis on people in public-facing jobs such as teachers.

Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the vaccine task force, says those most at risk are often racialized or marginalized people, who will have access to the vaccine sooner.

Manitoba is dealing with the start of a third wave of the pandemic, with daily case numbers rising in recent days.

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Health officials have also confirmed the first case in Manitoba of the P. 1 variant first seen in Brazil.

“This comprehensive approach, built on the advice of our medical experts, is the next step in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting people at risk,” Stefanson said in a statement Thursday night.

Manitoba is currently offering vaccines to the general public starting at age 39 for First Nations people and 59 for others. Targeted vaccine programs have been run for people in long-term care homes and other group facilities.

The province is also offering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to people over 55 with certain underlying health conditions.