Manitoba’s vaccine eligibility just changed once again - and this time, the floodgates are starting to open for northern second doses.
As of Wednesday, every Manitoban who had their first dose on or before May 1 and all northern Saskatchewan residents age 40 and over can book a second dose. This means Northern Health Region (NHR) residents who booked appointments between April 26 - when first dose eligibility changed to allow all people who live or work in the NHR - and May 1 can now book a second dose.
All Indigenous people in Manitoba age 12 and up, along with people who have certain medical conditions or take certain medications, can also book a second dose appointment.
The eligibility requirements for Manitoba second doses are loosening each day - as of May 26, second doses were limited for people who had their first dose before March 29, moving ahead almost a month in eligibility in just one week.
All people age 18 and over who lived or worked in the Northern Health Region (NHR) became eligible for a first dose of vaccine April 26.
In Manitoba, all people age 12 and up can book first-dose appointments, but youths ages 12-17 can only receive doses of Pfizer vaccine, which has only been offered in Flin Flon once, at a youth clinic May 29. Other Pfizer clinics specifically for youths have not been announced for the Flin Flon area.
Saskatchewan lowered their own eligibility requirements this week, dropping the minimum age for people living in the Northern Saskatchewan Administrative District (NSAD) to 40 years and older as long as they meet the manufacturer’s guidance on intervals between first and second doses.
According to Saskatchewan's vaccine plan as of June 6, all people age 65 and over or people who received a first dose before March 22 throughout the province are now able to book a second dose of vaccine, with all people 55 and over slated to be eligible June 14 according to current schedules.
Both provinces have also allowed people who received a first dose of AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine to receive a second dose of either Moderna or Pfizer vaccine when eligible.
As well, the Flin Flon vaccination pop-up clinic at Flin Flon Community Hall will continue to have doses for walk-ins starting at 11 a.m. every Thursday and Friday into mid-July. While clinics operate at the centre from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., but walk-in doses typically run out before mid-afternoon.
In Manitoba, doses can be booked by calling the provincial vaccine hotline at 1-844-626-8222 (1-844-MAN-VACC). Saskatchewan doses can be booked by calling 1-833-727-5829 (1-833-SASKVAX).
People can get one dose in Saskatchewan and a second in Manitoba - but there are some hurdles to jump through first.
When getting a second dose in a different province, patients will need to bring their original provincial vaccine records with them to confirm they have had their first dose. For people who got their first dose in Saskatchewan are coming to Manitoba for round two, they will need to go to ehealthsask.ca to access and print off their vaccine records. People who got a first dose in Manitoba looking to get a second in Saskatchewan can do the same at sharedhealthmb.ca. Residents in each province can also access this information by contacting the nearest health office in their home province.