More Manitobans are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine — including Premier Brian Pallister — but their options are limited on where they can get their shots.
On Monday, the province extended age eligibility criteria to include Manitobans 65 and over and First Nations people 45 or older.
Appointments can be booked by calling 1-844-626-8222 between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., or by clicking here.
Appointments are currently only available at mass vaccination clinics in Winnipeg and at the newly launched clinic in Morden, the province said in a press release. It wasn't clear why other immunization supersites weren't taking bookings Monday, although the province indicated it is actively recruiting additional staff to work as navigators at clinics in Brandon, Thompson, Selkirk and Morden.
"Additional supersite appointments will be available for booking in the coming days," the province said.
Previously, the provincial government said appointments for mass vaccination clinics were being booked two to three weeks in advance.
Premier Brian Pallister, 66, said Monday afternoon he hadn’t yet booked his COVID-19 vaccine appointment and isn’t sure he'll have his picture taken while getting his shot.
"I’ve reflected on this. It’s a difficult issue," the premier told reporters in a scrum, adding he wants to demonstrate the importance of getting a vaccine.
Pallister joked he isn't sure he has the confidence for a solo photo op like chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin, who was photographed last week getting the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine in a T-shirt.
"Dr. Roussin looked great in that shirt with those massive pipes. I know why he’s known around Breezy Bend for having one of the longest drives at the (golf) club," Pallister said.
Meanwhile, pop-up clinics have been scheduled in Steinbach, Victoria Beach, Portage la Prairie, Arborg, Lundar, Russell, Riverton, Lac du Bonnet, Killarney, Morris and Stonewall for eligible members of the public between March 29 and April 1.
A complete schedule is available on the provincial government’s website. Bookings for appointments at pop-up clinics will open Tuesday.
Over the course of the week, immunization teams will also bring the vaccine to people living in more than 100 congregate living facilities, such as assisted living and group homes. An estimated 5,000 people are to be offered their first doses of the vaccine. A complete schedule for congregate living facilities is available here.
As of Monday, 136,329 doses of vaccine have been given to Manitobans, and the province had received 193,760 doses from the federal government.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.
After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.