Campers, anglers and beach goers seeking some sunshine and reprieve can also get a shot of protection against COVID-19 at Manitoba parks over the next two weeks.
The province’s COVID-19 vaccine task force is deploying pop-up clinics to provincial, national and private campgrounds and beaches in an effort to offer vaccines to Manitobans taking advantage of the outdoors.
On Saturday, a pop-up clinic will be set up at the Kiche Manitou Campground in Spruce Woods Provincial Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to deliver Moderna doses to adults and Pfizer shots to youth aged 12 to 17. Vaccines are offered on a walk-in basis.
"As summer picks up and more Manitobans are getting outside and enjoying our campgrounds, this provides an innovative and fun approach to helping get more people vaccinated," Health Minister Heather Stefanson said in a statement Friday.
"Bringing immunization teams into campgrounds allows us to reach people where they already are, making immunization easy and accessible to those who still need a first or second dose."
Saturday’s clinic at Kiche Manitou will be staffed with nurses from the Prairie Mountain Health Authority.
A pop-up clinic also offered shots at Child’s Lake Campground in Duck Mountain Provincial Park and Asessippi Beach and Campground in Asessippi Provincial Park on Friday afternoon.
Admission to Manitoba provincial parks is free Saturday and Sunday.
The province said more pop-up clinics are scheduled for Manitoba parks the week of July 25, with Riding Mountain National Park, Minnedosa Beach, Rivers Campground and Ninette just a few of the communities set to receive a vaccination team.
While in the community, clinic staff will also be doing some outreach and answering questions about the vaccine.
Parks staff have also advertised the upcoming clinics among campers, while regions were encouraged to share details on clinics with local resorts, lodges and outfitters to promote the clinic with their customers, the province said.
People who plan to be immunized at a campground are encouraged to bring a consent form, but forms will be available at the sites for those who do not have one, the province noted.
"These clinics are another example of how we’ll take vaccine to Manitobans. Currently, a total of 1,135 doses have been allocated to these pop-ups, with expectations of allocating more based on overwhelming response," a spokesman for the vaccine task force said.
He said the province continues to plan for additional pop-up clinics in parks in August.
Meanwhile, the province said more than 9,000 Manitobans showed up for the one-day walk-in COVID-19 vaccine marathon held Wednesday at super site immunization clinics.
A total of 9,070 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were given to clients who showed up during the "vax-a-thon" event earlier this week.
The province estimates 20 per cent of walk-in clients were there for a first dose and 30 per cent of all doses given Wednesday were given to young people ages 12 to 17.
The task force advises thousands of appointments for Moderna shots are available, some as early as Saturday, and appointments for Pfizer vaccinations are available later in July.
Ten per cent of doses allocated to super site clinics continue to be set aside for walk-in clients and vaccines are widely available at medical clinics, pharmacies, pop-up clinics and community-hosted clinics.
As of Friday, 77.2 per cent of eligible Manitobans have had at least one dose of vaccine, and 60.4 per cent are fully immunized.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.
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