A day after seniors lined up for hours to get vaccinated, Winnipeg’s mass COVID-19 vaccination site seemed to be running smoothly.
Public health officials have said a technical glitch caused a staffing shortage at the convention centre on Friday, leading to long wait times.
On Saturday, no lines of people pushed out the main doors around the corner. Instead, a host of masked seniors who arrived early or were waiting for rides stood outside.
Most said the process took about an hour.
Frank Houston, an 82-year-old retired railwayman, said it took him a bit longer — about 90 minutes. That’s still much shorter than the approximately four-hour wait reported Friday.
But Houston said his diabetes weakens him and tires him out. He was resting outside with his granddaughter Tess Houston.
"It’s a pretty long walk for someone his age," Tess Houston said. She said she didn’t know wheelchairs were available until he was already sitting.
Overall, Frank Houston was in good spirits. He said he was relieved to get his first shot and looking forward to his second.
Another man, 70-year-old James Sinclair, had heard about Friday’s lineups, so he decided to arrive more than an hour early. Even though it turned out to be not necessary, he laughed off the extra wait.
"I don’t mind," the retired flour mill worker said. "I’ve got nothing much to do anyway."
Sinclair considers getting the shot like a social duty.
"Any little bit helps," he said. "I figure it’s just like the flu shot."
Rita Lavergne, accompanied by her daughter Yvette Shaw, was feeling a little impatient with her wait, she said. She complained people arrived before their appointed times and got numbers in line before those who showed up for their appointments at the allotted time.
"(Staff members) said this is a backlog, but it’s nothing compared to the last two days," Lavergne said. "But once you get in, it goes pretty fast."
In the end, she was relieved to finally be vaccinated, she said. "It feels great," she said. "So far — knock on wood."
Erin Nagy, who works at a dental office, said her mother went to the site Friday. She had waited a couple hours in the cold before getting inside. Nagy had an appointment at 9:50 a.m. Saturday and was finished by 10:30 a.m.
She was ecstatic to have received her second shot. "I’m looking forward to being able to travel," she said, adding she has a property in Texas.
The provincial government said as of Saturday, more than 10 per cent of Manitobans aged 18 and older have received at least one vaccine shot.
The province reported one death connected to COVID-19 Saturday — a man in his 80s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the outbreak at Grace Hospital Unit 3 South.
Fifty-seven new cases of COVID-19 were announced: 26 in the Winnipeg health region, 23 in Northern Health, seven in Southern Health and one in Prairie Mountain Health.
The five-day positivity rate is 4.3 per cent in Manitoba and 3.3 per cent in Winnipeg after 2,043 tests were completed Friday.
There are 1,190 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 143 people in hospital and 13 in intensive care.
An outbreak has been declared at St. Anthony’s General Hospital, acute care inpatient unit, in The Pas.
Outbreaks in Winnipeg at CN Rail (821 Lagimodiere Blvd.) and MD Practice Solutions of Manitoba (100-205 Fort St.) were downgraded to restricted (orange) level on the pandemic response system.