Conservative MP Ted Falk, who represents a Manitoba riding with communities that have extremely low vaccine uptake, refuses to reveal whether he’s been immunized against COVID-19.
"The personal medical information of Canadians is private. As such, MP Falk will not be commenting on any matters related to his personal health," his office wrote Aug. 6.
All other 13 MPs from the province told the Free Press they’ve had at least one dose of vaccine.
Kildonan-St. Paul MP Raquel Dancho’s office said she’ll get her second shot later this month; that suggests the Conservative MP likely had her first shot in late July.
Dancho turned 31 in April; all Manitobans aged 30 and older have been eligible to book a first shot since May 10.
All other MPs say they have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
This month, the Free Press surveyed all 57 Manitoba MLAs, and found only Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler and Seine River MLA Janice Morley-Lecomte are not fully vaccinated.
Both PC MLAs cited privacy, declining to provide an explanation for not getting a shot or whether they had one of the two required doses.
Point Douglas Coun. Vivian Santos also said she has not had a COVID-19 vaccine, citing a medical condition, while her 14 Winnipeg city council colleagues and the mayor have all had two shots.
Public health experts have urged prominent Canadians to encourage people to roll up their sleeves, as the highly contagious Delta variant has already started a fourth wave in other provinces.
As of Aug. 4, 81.7 per cent of eligible Manitobans have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but the uptake has been much lower in some of the public health districts in Falk’s riding.
In Hanover, which borders Steinbach, just 44.8 per cent of people aged 12 and up have had one shot. The vaccination rate stands at around 60 per cent in Steinbach and further east in the La Broquerie and Ste. Anne area.
Falk, who represents the Provencher riding, posts frequently on social media but not about COVID-19 vaccines. His riding borders Winnipeg and comprises the southeast corner of the province, roughly from the Winnipeg River to Morris to the Ontario and U.S. borders.
In the House of Commons, Falk mentioned vaccine procurement in passing, as part of a February push for Ottawa to publish metrics for lifting restrictions.
In an April committee meeting, Falk spoke in support of the Manitoba government’s plan to help fund a Calgary company to produce a new COVID-19 vaccine in Winnipeg.
"The federal government’s vaccine procurement and rollout has been a disaster, often because Canada has had to source vaccines from outside the country," he told the House finance committee April 13.
After a slow start and a painful third wave, Canada now has enough doses to fully immunize everyone over 12 years old, but it remains unknown whether Falk has gotten one of those jabs.