The disruption in deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine will have no impact on personal care home residents in Manitoba according to Dr. Joss Reimer with Manitoba's COVID-19 vaccine implementation task force.
Pfizer announced late last week it is temporarily delaying international vaccine shipments. Dr. Reimer says as of the end of Saturday, ten personal care homes (PCH) in Manitoba had their residents immunized. She notes they anticipate all PCH residents in Manitoba who want the vaccine, will receive their first dose by the end of January, one week ahead of schedule. According to Dr. Reimer, they will visit 51 PCHs next week as part of their accelerated schedule.
Meanwhile, eligibility criteria for vaccines in Manitoba will be expanded on Tuesday to include health-care workers who provide direct care in long-term care facilities including PCHs. Previously, this was only for those born on or before December 31, 1983. It is being expanded to include all ages.
According to Dr. Reimer, once they were notified of Pfizer's delays, Manitoba's task force immediately began working with its stakeholders as well as the health system to consider the potential impact. She notes thankfully no scheduled appointments needed to be cancelled. However, the province chose to quickly stop making new appointments to ensure that all appointments could be honoured.
"Today I can confirm that after spending the weekend looking at those numbers and the future reduced Pfizer deliveries, we calculate that we should have enough doses of Pfizer vaccine to book an additional four thousand appointments," says Dr. Reimer. "So that will be occurring this week and next week in Winnipeg and in Brandon."
Dr. Reimer says the fact they can continue to honour these appointments speaks well of the planning and careful procedures put in place by their task force.
"We did not overextend, we did not assume that the future supply would arrive," she says. "And because of that we are not cancelling any appointments or delaying any of our second doses."
There is still no word on when or if a vaccination site will be set up in Steinbach. Dr. Reimer says they had discussions earlier around future potential sites. However, she says all of those discussions have been put on hold because of the Pfizer disruption.
"I don't have any information about when to expect future sites to open," she says.