Manitoba not offering third dose, says there are ‘no clear signs’ of benefit

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force is not offering a third shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, saying there is ‘no clear signs’ a third dose would benefit people.

Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead of the task force, said unless there has been an error with the first or second dose, Manitobans will not be offered a third dose for now.

This comes as new data released by Pfizer suggests a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine can “strongly” boost protection against the Delta variant.

READ MORE: Pfizer claims 3rd dose ‘strongly’ boosts protection against Delta variant

However, Reimer said the data the task force is getting from the U.K. and Canada shows people are still very well protected with two doses.

“Looking at the data we have on the Delta variant, the studies are still showing people are protected in the high 80 per cents,” she said.

“So, no clear signs that right now anyone would benefit substantially from a third dose, but we are watching that very carefully.”

But beyond the potential of a boosted protection—some are seeking a third shot for travel, as some companies and countries are not recognizing those with mixed vaccine schedules as being fully vaccinated.

Reimer said even so, a third dose will not be offered, though she does expect to see those restrictions eased.

“As the desire for tourism grows, as the need for expanded customer base grows, we expect that most companies and most countries will move to accept a mixed schedule,” she said. “If they don’t—if we see that the trend is to only recognize two doses of the same product—we can revisit what we are offering.”

She said a third dose carries a very small risk, and said the province does not want to offer a third dose to people if there isn’t a clear health benefit.

CTV News will have more details on this story.

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