The Manitoba government will be opening appointments for the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible Indigenous residents starting on May 24.
Dr. Marcia Anderson, public health lead for the First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team, and Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead for Manitoba’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force, made the announcement on Friday.
The province said to book appointments, Indigenous Manitobans must have received a Pfizer vaccine 21 days before their second-dose appointment or the Moderna vaccine 28 days before their second-dose appointment.
“Throughout the second and third waves of this pandemic we have consistently seen that First Nations people make up 40 to 60 per cent of all COVID admissions to the ICU,” Anderson said.
“Of these First Nations people, currently two-thirds of them live outside of First Nations communities and mostly in urban environments. That’s why it’s so important to get our communities, both on and off-reserve, fully vaccinated as soon as possible.”
People can receive their second dose at a different location than they received their first dose; however, they must get the same type of vaccine.
“This means that if someone got a dose at a supersite, they could choose to make an appointment at an urban Indigenous clinic for their second dose, so long as it’s offering the same type of vaccine as they received for their first dose,” Reimer said.
Reimer added the province’s approach to second-dose eligibility will benefit all Manitobans, noting that First Nations people are more vulnerable to COVID-19 for a number of systemic reasons.
“The more that we can fully vaccinate people in Manitoba, the safer our communities will be,” she said.
The appointments for Indigenous residents will open up at 11:45 a.m. Anderson asks people to hold off from booking their appointments until this time.
Indigenous residents can book their appointments at supersites, pop-up clinics, or urban Indigenous clinics online or by calling 1-844-626-8222.
Anderson noted that being fully vaccinated will provide a greater level of protection to individuals, their loved ones, and their communities.