COVID-19 vaccines will be coming as early as next week to Manitoba.
Front-line health care workers will be among the first to receive the vaccine. At-risk Manitobans, such as seniors over 80 years old and some adults in First Nations groups will also be among the first to receive a vaccine.
Premier Brian Pallister says 900 Manitobans will be the first to receive the approved Pfizer vaccine. This will vaccinate less than 1 per cent of the population during the initial campaign.
"It is our hope, that as soon as possible, we can get through this thing together and get that vaccine out there," Pallister says.
The Premier and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin Roussin both say that they have not had a good night's sleep in the past approximately eight months due to the effects of the pandemic.
The initial doses will arrive in Winnipeg. A clinic is currently in place and has done a trial run on the logistics of administering the doses.
Information on how to make an appointment for a vaccine will be available in the upcoming week.
Doses of the Moderna vaccine, which has less stringent temperature requirements, will be distributed to northern and remote communities in Manitoba's First Nations communities.
Roussin says "we are ready" as they prepare to bring the vaccine into Manitoba. Roussin says those who get a vaccine will not need to isolate after.
"You cannot get covid from these vaccines," he says.
Approximately seven per cent of the population will receive a dose by the time more arrive at the end of March. The vaccines need to be given twice. Roussin says there is a 95 per cent effectiveness in each dose. They do not know how long a dose will be effective.
The 60 newly-purchased freezers will store 1.8 million doses when more arrive.
"We have taken the time to make it right and we are ready for this campaign," Roussin says.
The province says there will eventually be enough doses for all Manitobans, but for now, the average resident will have to wait.
"We want hope too. We want to see everybody that can, as soon as possible, get vaccinated as soon as possible," Pallister says. "We live this every single day as do our entire cabinet team, as do our frontline workers, as do our nurses, as do our doctors. We see the consequences of this thing every single day."
Roussin says the good news of a pending vaccine does not mean Manitobans can stop following the fundamentals.
"This will take time. While there is hope now, and we all have that hope that comes with this announcing of this vaccine, I want to remind Manitobans the vaccine is not here yet," Pallister says.
The vaccine is not mandatory, but the province will be campaigning to encourage people to get the shot as soon as they are eligible. The hope is that most Manitobans will vote to have the vaccine, creating a "herd immunity."
Roussin says no Manitobans have been vaccinated yet. The province could be looking at separate public health orders for people who do and do not have the vaccine, but it is too early to decide if they will or not.