Ensuring an expedient, effective vaccine rollout
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This article was published 15/01/2021 (865 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
While a new calendar year has not resolved most of the challenges we faced together in 2020, it has brought a reason for hope. The early stages of vaccine rollout in Manitoba is a cause for optimism, but we must to continue to do our due diligence to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure all Manitobans can access the vaccine as soon as possible.
Just as they failed to prepare for the second wave of the virus in the fall, the Pallister government has failed to plan ahead for a vaccination campaign that sees all Manitobans, with our most vulnerable populations and front-line workers first, receive this life-saving vaccine as quickly as possible.
Last month it promised 40,000 vaccinations in January — but we are not on track to meet that goal. Government has missed its own targets and is now ramping down its promises. So far, the Pallister government’s vaccine rollout has been slow, chaotic, and glitchy. Precious doses were wasted, clinics were closed for days in December, and Manitobans waited hours on the phone for an appointment.
I asked the minister of health to ensure this doesn’t happen again. However, there’s now a new Minister of Health, another sign this government is spending more time managing political problems than serving the needs of Manitobans — like getting the vaccine right.
Rather than plan ahead, the government dithered. The premier claims he could have the whole province vaccinated by the end of March if the federal government would just give him enough doses, yet we currently have an abundance of doses still in storage and not in the arms of Manitobans. Weeks into its vaccination campaign, the government posted a position for provincial director of immunization — a job that should have been filled months ago.
Manitobans need clarity and transparency from their government on this plan. Instead of blaming others for the fact that Manitoba is in last place in vaccine rollout, the province should focus on getting vaccines into the arms of as many Manitobans as it can. As supply increases, it is crucial that vaccines become as accessible as possible — available at pharmacies and everywhere else Manitobans would get a regular flu shot.
Vaccines must be accessible for all families — no matter their mobility, location, or income.The NDP caucus will continue to advocate for a vaccine plan that is fast, effective and clearly communicated.
Contact my office anytime at 204-615-1922 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fort Rouge constituency report
Wab Kinew is the NDP MLA for Fort Rouge and leader of the Manitoba New Democratic Party.