Where a Manitoban can get a COVID-19 vaccine is changing as the province looks to expand its reach.
Manitobans who received their first COVID-19 vaccine on or before April 20 can now receive their second dose, along with previously announced reliability that includes all Indigenous people and those with specific health conditions.
A mobile popup vaccine clinic and vaccination clinics in communities currently unreached are how the province is hoping to bring the vaccine to more Manitobans.
"It is really about how effectively we are able to deliver this accessibility approach.. this is slower, more careful work," Johanu Botha, the operations lead of Manitoba's COVID-19 vaccine task force says in a Wednesday media briefing.
Botha says vaccination uptake is "levelling off," which is expected. To improve uptake, Botha says they are bringing the vaccines directly to the communities experiencing lower uptake and limited access.
"It is not like first dose individuals are not booking, but they are not booking at the rate that they used to."
Starting this week, 25 medical clinics and pharmacies will be given a total of 5,000 Moderna or Pfizer doses to administer. Next week, the number of clinics and pharmacies giving mRNAs will jump to 500.
Previously, they were only able to give the AstraZeneca vaccine, but more doses of the vaccine type will not be making their way into Manitoba.
"We have asked the feds, at this time, not to send AstraZeneca into the province," Botha says.
It was announced on Monday those who received a first dose of AstraZeneca are eligible for an mRNA vaccine.
Botha says they will be partnering with communities to create community-led vaccine clinics. He says this comes after communities reached out to the province, offering to host clinics at places like schools.
"A trusted face and trusted leader, local specifically, at these sites is one way to increase vaccine confidence."
Botha says these faces could include mayors and ministers.
For community-led clinics to work, Botha says they will need to be strategic about how many vaccines get sent.
The mobile clinic is set to travel to where people tend to congregate during the day, targeting areas with lower vaccine uptake.
Botha says second-dose eligibility will continue on with its Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule to give people looking to get their first dose a chance to get vaccinated with available supplies.