Manitoba is less than two weeks away from vaccinating 70 per cent of its eligible population against the novel coronavirus in a final push to bend the COVID-19 curve of Canada's hot spot.
On Tuesday, Manitoba passed a milestone in the campaign to deliver first doses to its adult population, with 60.3 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose.
Another 11,978 doses were administered on Monday, including 248 second doses, bringing the total number of vaccinations to date in Manitoba to 761,132.
At least 664,810 Manitobans have received one or more doses of vaccine, including children and teens between the ages of 12 and 17. By comparison, Saskatchewan — which has consistently led provinces in using its vaccine supply — had immunized 67 per cent of adults as of Tuesday.
In the past seven days, Manitoba immunized 82,923 people for a seven-day average of 11,846 first doses.
If the vaccine task force can keep up its pace, Manitoba is on track to reach 825,912 first doses — or 70 per cent of the population 12-plus — administered by June 7.
Reaching 70 per cent coverage for adults could come earlier, as the provincial government said Tuesday that thousands of vaccine appointments were still available in Winnipeg on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Leila Avenue clinic.
Provincial planning documents suggest that from 14,000 to 17,000 doses a day will be administered over that time period.
The mass vaccination centre inside the Winnipeg Soccer Federation complex offers both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the latter of which is only available to people 18 or older.
All people 12 and older are currently eligible.
The second dose campaign is also underway for people who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.
People with select health conditions, including liver cirrhosis or portal hypertension, severe heart failure and cancer including solid tumour and blood (leukemia/lymphoma) who will be or are receiving chemotherapy, and many others, can book their second dose appointment. All Indigenous Manitobans are also eligible for their second shot.
On Monday, when second-dose appointments opened up to Indigenous peoples, the Free Press reported that Moderna vaccines were in short supply in Winnipeg and people were forced to book appointments outside the city.
However, as of Tuesday, the province was once again offering Moderna shots at the Leila Avenue clinic.
Over the past month, the province has received a scattershot supply of Moderna vaccine due to manufacturer delays, making it difficult for the province to forecast when it can offer the shots, depending on when the vaccine lands in the province.
Late last week, 38,200 doses of the vaccine arrived here and are set to be used at provincially run mass vaccination centres and at pop-up clinics.
As of last week, the Manitoba government will no longer divert Moderna doses to First Nations partners for reserves since that campaign, including second doses, is expected to end in June.
On Tuesday, as many as 25,650 Moderna doses were still with First Nations partners.
The First Nations COVID-19 response team said more than 49,700 doses had been given to on-reserve residents as of May 19.
The Manitoba vaccine task force will likely expand second dose eligibility again on Wednesday to include members of the public who received their first shot in early March.
Meanwhile, immunization teams will go to more than 90 congregate living facilities over the next two weeks to offer second doses to seniors and residents in retirement homes who got their shot earlier this spring.
The vaccine task force has yet to announce its plans to offer second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the more than 80,000 people who were immunized with that shot. Clinical trial data for the AstraZeneca vaccine demonstrated optimal efficacy when the second dose was given at 12 weeks, which the provincial government is currently following.
The first Manitobans who received AstraZeneca will be due for their second shot either the first or second week of June.
The province has yet to make a recommendation on mixing vaccine types for those who took AstraZeneca; it's waiting for data from a study in the United Kingdom.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.