With all the news about the vaccine lately, you may be wondering why you haven’t had your own immunization schedule yet. Don’t worry, a systematic immunization plan is already underway. Since last year, Health Canada has been coordinating with provincial governments, experts and partners here and abroad to get everyone immunized as soon as possible.
Update: As of Monday, March 15, Manitobans aged 77 and older are eligible for a vaccine, as are First Nations people aged 57 and over. Spouses can also book appointments together. Eligible Manitobans can call 1-844-626-8222. The line is open daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT. An online system was also launched on March 17. Go to: Online Appointment Booking.
Age eligibility is gradually lowered as more vaccine supply arrives in the province. See an estimated schedule by age here: Manitoba lowers age eligibility again: The latest COVID-19 vaccine info, CBC News. Stay updated by checking this page: COVID-19 Vaccine Current Eligibility Criteria for immunization.
Here are some facts:
- Canada has secured enough doses to provide access to vaccines to all Canadians in 2021.
- The earliest vaccine started arriving in December 2020 and deliveries will grow to an estimated six million doses by the end of March 2021.
- Vaccines will be implemented to high-risk populations first.
Source: Vaccines for COVID-19
To date, vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have gone through rigorous review and approval. Meanwhile, vaccine candidates include those from Janssen, Medicago, Astra Zeneca, Sanofi and Novavax.
Update: The AstraZenica Vaccine has been approved in Canada. Here’s what you need to know about Manitoba’s AstraZeneca vaccine rollout (March 10, 2021).
Stages of implementation
As mentioned, the vaccine will be administered to high-risk populations first (as determined by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization). Generally, immunization with expanded priority population will start in spring (Stage 2) and then the general population by summer. The goal is to complete the immunization campaign by the end of 2021.
Stage 1: This includes frontline health care workers, residents and staff of homes that care for seniors, seniors 80 years and older, then 75 years old and 70 (as supply becomes available), and adults in Indigenous communities where the infection can have disproportionate consequences.
Stage 2: Adults 60-69 years old, adults in racialized and marginalized communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19, first responders (e.g. police, firefighters), residents and staff of other congregate living settings, frontline essential workers who have direct contact with the public, and primary caregivers to those who are at high-risk of severe illness from COVID-19 due to advanced age.
Stage 3: Adults 16-59 years old with an underlying medical condition and their primary caregivers, adults 50-59 years old without an underlying medical condition, non-frontline health care workers needed to maintain healthcare capacity, and non-frontline essential workers who have direct contact with the public (see a more detailed list of the stages here: Priority populations).
Want to get an idea where you are in the vaccination priority line? Use the Vaccine Queue Calculator on the Manitoba COVID-19 site.
Administration and monitoring
Provinces and territories are responsible for the allocation, delivery, storage, distribution, prioritization, and administration of vaccines within their jurisdictions. Continued monitoring will be done through vaccine surveillance systems to evaluate the effectiveness, investigate and address adverse events, and report publicly the results.
Important points to remember:
The vaccine is free
Immunization efforts are already underway. Vaccinations will be available at no cost to everyone in Canada who wants one.
Until extensive immunization is accomplished, public health measures will continue to be essential. This means we should continue to keep social distancing and avoiding crowds, wear masks, and wash our hands often/sanitize to limit the spread of the virus.
Stick to credible sources of information
There has been a rise in disinformation that is not only dangerous but has also led to increased stigma and discrimination especially among vulnerable populations. This is why it’s important to get credible, up-to-date, and factual information. This may be found in public health and government sites (Health Canada and Manitoba) as well as international public health agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO).
Use digital tools
Four free digital tools are available to access the latest developments, resources and supports related to COVID-19:
- COVID Alert App – This is an exposure notification app. It will let you know of possible exposures before any symptoms appear.
- COVID-19 App and Symptom Tracker – The app will let you receive the latest updates, trusted resources, and self-assess your symptoms.
- Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support – Provides online resources, tools, apps and connections to qualified people when needed.
- Arrive CAN – Use this mobile app at Canadian ports of entry to speed up your arrival process in Canada and spend less time with border services and public health officers.
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