With more than 35,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses stored in its freezers and a further 73,700 en route to Manitoba, the provincial government recorded fewer than 5,000 doses administered Sunday.

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With more than 35,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses stored in its freezers and a further 73,700 en route to Manitoba, the provincial government recorded fewer than 5,000 doses administered Sunday.

Fewer than 6,500 shots were given to people Monday.

On May 2, just 4,164 shots were given in Manitoba — the single lowest day for vaccine administration since March 21. The province reported 6,369 doses were doled out Monday.

The daily average for the past seven days was 7,689.

A spokesman for the provincial government said the low Sunday tally — which also includes doses administered by pharmacists, doctors, and First Nations partners — was not indicative of overall vaccine administration through the week.

"We administer more doses on some days than others, based on our staff scheduling, when people prefer to make appointments, and the precise timing of a federal delivery," the government spokesman said in a written statement to the Free Press.

"However, if we receive enough vaccine that we reach capacity for doses on any given day, we would look to expand the number of doses booked on other days (like Sunday) where we currently administer fewer."

A request for an interview with a member of the Manitoba COVID-19 vaccine task force was not accommodated Tuesday.

"There are days throughout the week, depending on the region’s pop-ups and super sites, that have fewer appointments as allocated vaccine supply runs out," the spokesman said in response to follow-up questions.

"There will inevitably be days in the week with fewer appointments booked across the province until we receive more weekly supply of Pfizer and Moderna."

However, Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew said the sluggish Sunday administration rate is due to a "lack of political will," more so than supply.

"The government has made a decision at a political level to ramp-down operations on Sundays. But we’ve seen over the last two weekends is that COVID does not take a break on Sundays," Kinew told reporters during a scrum at the legislature Tuesday.

"We’ve seen really high case counts over the past two Sundays, and we’ve seen that steady increase to the ICU numbers, which has continued unabated over the weekend," the Opposition leader said.

"Given the fact that we’re fighting a foe in this pandemic who doesn’t take weekends off, why are the PCs ramping down our vaccination campaigns on those days?"

Based on updated figures from the province Tuesday, it appeared the government would miss its target of using its Pfizer-BioNTech supply within a week of having received the shots.

Manitoba received 35,100 doses of Pfizer vaccine April 28, and another 2,340 doses April 29.

On April 30, 22,100 doses of Moderna touched down in the province, with approximately 11,000 going to provincial pop-up clinics and immunization teams.

Johanu Botha, co-lead of the provincial COVID-19 vaccine task force, said last week the approximately 48,400 doses in the province’s control would be used over a week-and-a-half, with all of the Pfizer doses given to people within approximately seven days.

As of Tuesday, provincial data showed the province had 37,347 doses remaining in its inventory; the government had scheduled just 5,570 appointments Tuesday.

To exhaust most of its Pfizer supply within the government’s stated timeline, it would need to deliver about 20,000 doses over the next two days; provincial planning documents indicated about 6,000 doses were planned at mass vaccination clinics on those dates.

"Pfizer deliveries allocated to super sites are already being pushed out before the next shipment, so Pfizer moves in and out of the province over the course of approximately a week," the spokesman said in a statement.

Another delivery of 73,710 doses of Pfizer is expected Wednesday, with the latest shipment coming from the company’s manufacturing facility in the United States.

The province’s inventory of Moderna doses, which are administered at pop-up clinics and through immunization teams, take about 10 days to exhaust after the delivery arrives.

Pop-up clinics are scheduled this week in 11 communities, and immunization teams will visit jails, hospitals and family violence shelters.

On Tuesday, federal Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand said a previously scheduled shipment of Moderna vaccine would arrive in Canada a week early and should touch down in the country Wednesday.

Manitoba was scheduled to receive 36,300 doses of Moderna next week. It was unclear Tuesday whether the province would receive the delivery under an accelerated schedule.


Danielle Da Silva

Danielle Da Silva

Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.

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