Manitobans who want their COVID-19 vaccination record to show two of the same shots for travel purposes will not be offered a third dose.
Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead for the vaccine task force, said Wednesday the province will not give a third dose to Manitobans who received a combination of vaccine types or brands for the purpose of satisfying the vaccination requirements of a small number of countries or tourism operators.
"Clinically, at this point there’s no clear benefit to receiving a third dose," Reimer said. "In the absence of a clear benefit, we can’t recommend a third dose to individuals where we know there is a very small, but not zero, risk associated with each dose of the vaccine."
Reimer said the task force cannot predict how various countries and companies implement policies related to mixed vaccination schedules.
"I do anticipate that while they’re starting with very strict and cautious eligibility, that most countries and most businesses will be expanding to accept mixed schedules, because a mixed schedule is being offered in many countries."
On Monday, the Quebec government decided it would offer a third dose of vaccine to people who travel for essential purposes to destinations where their immunization status isn't recognized due to mixing vaccine types or brands.
Reimer said the task force would revisit the subject if mixed vaccine schedules continue to cause issues related to international travel.
At this time, she said data on the effectiveness of the two-dose vaccine schedule coming out of Canada and the United Kingdom continues to show good protection at six months and against the highly transmissable delta variant.
"We’re still early days in determining whether first if there’s a possibility that our immune response might decrease enough that we need a third dose of the same product, as well as whether or not any variants, delta or future ones, might escape the protection offered by the current vaccines," Reimer said.
In Manitoba, 71,289 people received AstraZeneca and either Pfizer or Moderna, and 124,822 people took Pfizer for their first shot and Moderna as the second.