Manitoba's vaccine task force is recommending youth get their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by next week, if they want to be fully immunized by the time school starts.
Children and teens 12 to 17 should receive their first vaccine dose by July 27 to allow for the minimum 28 days between shots, and two weeks post-second dose, for the best immune response, officials said Wednesday.
Currently, about 78 per cent of Manitobans have one dose of vaccine and 63 per cent have both doses.
The province is still urging Manitobans to get vaccinated.
The task force's medical lead, Dr. Joss Reimer, said there are very few medical reasons why someone can't be vaccinated.
The proof of immunization card the province issues to fully vaccinated Manitobans doesn't carry an exemption for people who have a medical reason not to get the vaccine — meaning they are currently excluded from activities that have reopened only to fully vaccinated Manitobans, such as going to the movies or to a casino.
"I want to be very clear that there are very few people who shouldn't be vaccinated for health reasons," Reimer said during Wednesday's news conference, saying no one in Manitoba has been told to avoid the COVID-19 vaccines due to allergies.
She said the task force is working with specialists to find out how many people may be affected and what should be done, although she noted the public health restrictions are temporary.
Emergency department staff at Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre have been trained to offer the vaccine to anyone who shows up to the hospital for treatment, the task force said.
Clinics are being set up at various campgrounds: at Sandy Lake and Oak Lake beach July 24; at Riding Mountain National Park July 25, at Rivers Campground July 27, at Onanole, Riding Mountain and Adam Lake July 28, at Lake Metigoshe July 29, and Ninette July 30.
The province announced 44 new cases of the virus Wednesday, along with Manitoba's second death linked to the Delta variant: a man in his 30s from the Winnipeg health region.
The provincewide test positivity rate was 3.5 per cent, and 2.9 per cent in Winnipeg.
Of the new cases announced Wednesday, 16 were in Winnipeg, 12 in Interlake-Eastern, 11 in Southern Health, three in Northern Health and two in Prairie Mountain.