The federal government will no longer allocate additional COVID-19 vaccines to Manitoba because of its higher proportion of Indigenous people, who are statistically more vulnerable to serious outcomes.
The provincial health minister made the announcement Wednesday.
Heather Stefanson told reporters she learned Tuesday that Manitoba will be allotted its share of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines on a per capita basis as of the next quarter.
"We have some serious problems with how they went about doing this and how much Manitoba is going to be getting," Stefanson said. "We didn’t have an opportunity to have a say on that," she said.
Under the per capita option, Manitoba would receive 832,820 doses. That compares to 960,959 doses for a per capita allocation adjusted for a large elderly and Indigenous population.
"We have indicated to the federal government this has serious implications for Manitobans," said Stefanson. The province doesn’t yet know how the reduced allocation will affect Manitoba’s vaccine rollout.
NDP Leader Wab Kinew said the government should deal directly with Ottawa.
"These types of debates shouldn’t be carried out in public like this," Kinew told reporters. "I would hope the health minister and the premier would get on the phone with the prime minister and the federal government and get more vaccines here to Manitobans," he said. "The bickering that goes on between various levels of government does a disservice to most folks."