Manitoba to prioritize restaurant employees, grocery store workers for COVID-19 vaccines

The Manitoba government is expanding its COVID-19 vaccine program to prioritize first responders, teachers and other front-line workers.

In addition to the province’s current age-related criteria, front-line police officers and firefighters of all ages will be eligible to book a shot starting Wednesday.

Read more: Vaccine-seekers swarm Manitoba pharmacy phone lines in search of AstraZeneca shot

Dr. Joss Reimer, head of the province’s vaccine task force and task force co-lead, Johanu Botha, will have more details of the plans at a 12:30 p.m. press conference.

Global News will stream the media event live in this story.

Click to play video: 'Manitobans 40 and over can now access AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine' Manitobans 40 and over can now access AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Manitobans 40 and over can now access AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

At a technical briefing held for reporters earlier in the day Wednesday, Reimer said the province will reveal a list of high-risk geographic areas Friday, and anyone 18 and over living in those areas will also be eligible.

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People not in the high-risk zones, but who work there in certain jobs involving the public will be eligible as well, she said.

Read more: Manitoba well behind North Dakota in race to herd immunity

Reimer said the list includes restaurant workers, grocery and convenience store clerks and people who work in schools and child-care centres.

She said determining the high-risk areas will be based on factors such as COVID-19 case counts, population density and income levels.

Meanwhile the province on Wednesday dropped the age requirements for those eligible to be vaccinated at super sties and pop-up clinics to include anyone 50 and older and First Nation people aged 30 and older.

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Earlier this week eligibility for the AstraZeneca vaccine available at doctor’s offices and pharmacies was expanded to include anyone 40 and older.

Read more: COVID-19: Manitoba confirms second case of P.1 variant, first reported in Brazil

The latest  numbers provided by the province show a total of 521,910 doses of vaccine have been delivered to Manitoba since December.

Health officials said as of Tuesday, 364,389 shots have been administered, including 293,995 first doses and 70,394 second doses.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, visit our coronavirus page.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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