The Premier says while he understands some people may have hesitancy about the COVID-19 vaccine, the benefits outweigh possible risks.
Herd immunity is at the top of Premier Brian Pallister's mind when he thinks about the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine in southern Manitoba. He says he understands some may have concerns, but says there is a strong benefit to the vaccine.
"Part of that, I think, is to help people understand the benefits and understand that the risks are pretty minimal. At the same time, there might be honest reasons why people might be concerned about taking a vaccine and so we have to address the honest concerns and encourage people."
Pallister says that he has recently spoken with North Dakota's governor, Doug Burgum, about common concerns between their shared border.
"We both recognize that it is very important to encourage our citizens to take advantage of the vaccines that are going to be made available to them."
The Premier says the two economies are tied. Pallister says the province's neighbours to the south may wish to come to Winnipeg to watch Winnipeg Jets games, and Manitobans might want to travel there to shop, which is not possible at this time.
"The benefits (of the vaccine) are very real for all of us to not have COVID persist and continue in our province," the Premier says, noting that both governments will need to keep their residents safe if they wish to open the borders to visitors.
On March 5, a COVID-19 vaccine supercentre will open in the Winkler-Morden area, starting with 1,000 Pfizer vaccine appointments and acting as a centre point for future pop-ups and other vaccination initiatives. The province is hoping to have the capacity and vaccines to give 20,000 doses a day by April.