People who don’t have a Manitoba health card can now request a provincial COVID-19 immunization card if they meet certain requirements, the province said Monday in a weekly vaccine bulletin.
The card, which comes in both physical and digital formats, has a QR code that can be scanned by anyone with the province’s immunization card app to verify the person’s vaccine status.
Before this week, the vaccination card was only available to those with Manitoba health cards who had received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine two weeks before applying.
Now those without a health card can get the proof of immunization if they’ve received two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or AstraZeneca-Oxford (or a combination of two) or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with the final dose at least 14 days ago.
If any of those doses were given outside of Manitoba, proof has to be submitted to Manitoba public health and the data has to be recorded in the provincial system.
“We’ve been working on this process for quite some time,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead of the province’s vaccine implementation task force.
People without health cards can’t apply for their immunization cards online; they have to call and speak to an agent.
People can call 1-844-MAN-VACC (1-844-626-8222) and an agent will provide a client identification number for the digital version of the card. The agent can also request a physical card on the caller’s behalf.
Reimer doesn’t know exactly how many people will be impacted by this change.
As of Monday, 82 per cent of eligible Manitobans have had one shot of the vaccine and 76.7 per cent have had both.
Vaccine mandate coming
As of Sept. 3, the immunization card will be needed to access a variety of services, the province announced Friday.
Restaurant dining — both indoors and outdoors — will be limited to fully vaccinated people, which is defined as people who received their last shot at least 14 days ago.
Vaccination is also required for indoor theatre, dance and symphony events, movie theatres, casinos, bingo halls, VLT lounges, nightclubs and all other licensed premises.
Indoor and outdoor ticketed sporting events and concerts will remain exclusive to people who are fully vaccinated.
Children who are too young to be vaccinated are allowed to go to restaurants, theatres and other events with a vaccinated adult.
Proof of vaccination also will be required to visit fitness centres, gyms and indoor sporting and recreational facilities. Youth recreational sports are excluded, but parents, coaches and staff will have to be vaccinated.
Pfizer for Manitoba teens
Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada announced Friday that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is now approved for use in adolescents.
However, Manitoba will continue to give the Pfizer vaccine to minors born in 2009 and earlier because of the ample supply, Reimer said.
The province is waiting for advice from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization before making a decision about booster shots for people who are immunocompromised, who might not be as well protected by two doses of the vaccine as healthier people.
At this point, two doses are enough for the vast majority of Manitobans, provincial officials said.
“We know that receiving the full cycle, the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, is highly effective,” Reimer said.
“All the studies we’ve seen so far shows that it remains effective for the general population, and there’s no clear evidence that immunity is waning for the general population.”
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