Areas in and around Winkler, as well as specific communities in Winnipeg, are seeing very low vaccine uptake rates.
Some areas in Manitoba are seeing significantly lower COVID-19 vaccine uptake than others.
The province says there are barriers to accessibility to Winnipeggers, creating vaccine uptake difficulties. Dr. Joss Reimer says they are working on language barriers as well as community outreach.
The doctor says by identifying which regions have lower update rates, they will be able to provide support.
"We do need all of Manitoba to get on board together," Reimer says.
In the Stanley region around Winkler, the vaccine uptake rate is 6.1 per cent, the lowest rate in the province. Out of its 2789-person population, 171 have gotten the vaccine. Reimer says accessibility is not an issue as there is a supersite located in Morden, but is seeing vaccine hesitancy.
"Nobody is refusing the vaccine because they want to do something unhealthy," Reimer says. "Those communities care about each other, they care about themselves, their loved ones, and we want to build off of that and help frame this as a way to continue caring for each other."
Reimer says the province has seen a long history of mistrust of vaccines in general and the government in these areas. The province is enlisting the help of religious and civic leaders in the Southern Health-Santé Sud region to be vaccine champions.
Reimer says they are seeing "excellent high rates" of uptake, particularly over 70, but is seeing specific areas of Manitoba hesitant to get the vaccine. In order for herd immunity to work, 70 per cent of the population must be vaccinated.
Vaccine eligibility has opened up for Manitobans 18 years old and older in new regions.
Areas now eligible for the vaccine include Point Douglas North and Downtown West in Winnipeg.
Brandon Downtown including:
- Pacific Avenue to the north
- First Street to the east
- Richmond Avenue to the south
- Between 17th and 18 to the west
Those who work in specific industries in these locations are also eligible for the vaccine.
• kindergarten to Grade 12 schools;
• as a child-care provider;
• in a food-processing facility;
• in a grocery or convenience store;
• at a gas station;
• as a public health inspector or workplace safety and health officer; or
• anywhere that serves food (e.g. restaurants or food banks)
Previously-announced eligible areas and ages continue to be eligible.
By mid-May, the province is set to have half a dozen COVID-19 vaccine supersites. Steinbach's vaccine supersite opening soon, second Prairie Mountain site opening.
Steinbach's site will open by May 18. Appointments are expected to open up by the end of the week.
A supersite in Dauphin at 304 Whitmore Avenue East is opening on May 10.