3 Winnipeg communities to get priority vaccine access

Everyone 18 and older living in three Winnipeg communities — the downtown east, Point Douglas south and Inkster east — can now book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, the provincial government announced Friday.

“Our analysis has shown that these communities are particularly hard-hit or at high risk for transmission,” Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead on Manitoba’s vaccination task force, said at a news conference.

“Making vaccine available to everyone over who’s over 18 in these areas is expected to help control the spread of the virus, [and] should reduce serious illness and help protect our health-care system as well from being overwhelmed.”

A map showing the boundaries of each neighbourhood is available on the Manitoba government’s website.

Anyone 18 and older who lives in or works in certain front-line jobs in three Winnipeg communities — including the east downtown, South Point Douglas and east Inkster areas — is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Province of Manitoba)

Adults working in certain front-line jobs in those communities, such as grocery store employees and school staff, are also eligible, regardless of where they live.

In total, 35,000 people live or work in those areas, the province said in a news release.

On Wednesday, the vaccine task force announced it would prioritize workers in a number of categories working in areas of the province with high rates of transmission and severe outcomes from COVID-19.

That list includes people who work: 

  • At a school.
  • As a child-care or daycare provider.
  • In a food processing facility, including as a food inspector.
  • As a public health inspector or workplace safety and health officer.
  • At a grocery store, convenience store or retail gas location.
  • Anywhere that serves or provides food, including restaurants, food banks and soup kitchens.

Reimer said they had planned to release the list of the communities at the same time as the categories of front-line workers, but decided to have a statistician review their data.

On Thursday, Manitoba saw the highest jump in new COVID-19 cases since mid-January, with 261 confirmed cases. 

Using data starting in Oct. 1, around the start of the pandemic’s second wave in Manitoba, the task force based its decisions on which communities to prioritize based primarily on rates of transmission.

Other factors it will consider include population density, the proportion of racialized populations, average income, and an assessment of housing, Reimer said.

More than a quarter of Manitobans have received at least one dose of a vaccine. As of Thursday, the province had administered 308,113 first doses.

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