Starting today, everybody age 12 and up in Manitoba and Saskatchewan will be able to get their second COVID-19 vaccine dose.
Manitoba opened up both first and second dose eligibilty to all people covered by current Health Canada approval - all people age 12 and up. People ages 18 and up can receive doses of AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, while youths age 12-17 can only receive Pfizer doses - the other two doses have not yet received Health Canada approval for use in people under age 18, though this may change in the coming weeks.
Throughout Manitoba, more than 1.25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. About 70,000 doses, combined first and second, have been given in the Northern Health Region, including more than 28,000 second doses - almost half of all eligible people in the north.
All Manitoba supersites, including those in The Pas and Thompson, are accepting walk-in appointments according to provincial health authorities.
"The number of walk-ins may vary by day and by site, but are approximately 10 per cent of all doses available. It is important to note that a limited number of walk-ins are available on a daily basis. Sites will continue to prioritize first-dose immunizations for walk-ins when possible," reads a Manitoba government update from June 25.
The province is also anticipating two major shipments of vaccines to arrive next week - one with about 87,750 doses of Pfizer vaccine and another with almost 180,000 doses of Moderna vaccine. Most doses received by northern Manitoba residents have been Moderna doses.
While vaccination rates are high in several areas, others are lagging behind. Three health districts in the north have seen more than 80 per cent of eligible people receive shots. Within the Flin Flon/Snow Lake/Cranberry Portage/Sherridon health district, 69 per cent of eligible people have received at least one dose.
Just to the west, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) announced June 24 that all people age 12 and up will be able to book either a first or second dose.
Recent COVID-19 vaccine shipments to Saskatchewan have led SHA officials to believe that vaccine supply will be high enough to provide everyone in the province by mid-July. Whether those doses will be Pfizer or Moderna is unknown, but public health guidance currently suggests that getting one shot from one brand and getting a second shot from the other brand will still work as desired.
'"The SHA is anticipating that with additional vaccine allotments arriving weekly, there will be enough COVID-19 vaccine available to support the administration of all outstanding second doses by mid-July, though vaccine type available will be based on vaccines delivered," said a June 24 SHA statement.
"Residents are urged take advantage of one of the many options available for immunization: booked appointments, drive-thru and walk-in clinics, pop-up clinics, and participating pharmacies."
Second doses in Saskatchewan can be booked for 28 days or more after a person's first dose.
Dose appointments in Manitoba can be booked by calling 1-844-MAN-VACC (1-844-626-8222) or through walk-in clinics, which are being held at the Flin Flon Community Hall starting at 11 a.m., typically on Thursdays and Fridays. Another set of walk-in clinics is being held at the Creighton Sportex Friday, with other walk-ins in the Creighton arena possible in the future.