New COVID-19 vaccine supersites planned for Selkirk, Morden-Winkler

The next COVID-19 vaccine supersites in Manitoba are planned to open in Selkirk and Morden-Winkler in the first week of March, members of the province’s vaccine implementation task force announced Wednesday.

The two new sites — which will serve the Interlake-Eastern and Southern health regions — will mean that every health region will have a supersite. The exact location of two supersites remains to be determined.

Dr. Joss Reimer, the vaccine task force’s medical lead, and Johanu Botha, the task force’s operations lead, will speak at a public briefing at 12:30 p.m. that will be live streamed here.

During a technical briefing for media on Wednesday morning, task force members laid out a number of criteria for selecting supersite locations, including population density in order to maximize the number of people who can reasonably get to a site.

Supersites must also act as distribution hubs for pop-up clinics and focused immunization teams in the region, so transportation routes play a key role in determining where to put them, said Botha.

“This is a first foray of supersites,” he said. “We’re very aware that there are residents across Manitoba that [are] not as close to these supersites that will need convenient access to vaccines. They will have that.”

Manitoba plans to eventually have 13 supersites across the province.

The province announced on Tuesday just one of its vaccination supersites — the one in downtown Thompson — remains open at this time due to vaccine shortages.

The Vaxport site, located in a hangar near the northern Manitoba city’s airport, has been ready to open since February but will not begin providing immunizations until vaccine supply issues are resolved.

The supersites in Winnipeg and Brandon remain closed until Thursday.

People who had appointments scheduled while the clinics are closed have been contacted to reschedule their appointments, which will still be within the recommended window, the province said.

Only 6,100 doses of the Moderna vaccine — the type remote and northern sites use because it’s easier to ship and store than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — are expected next week.

Meanwhile, 15,210 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are expected this week and 17,550 doses next week.

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