Coronavirus: Manitoba expands age eligibility for vaccine to general public

Health officials in Manitoba say more members of the general public can now make appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a release Friday the province said eligibility has been expanded to include all Manitobans born on or before Dec. 31, 1928, and all First Nations people born on or before Dec. 31, 1948.

Read more: Manitoba reports 1 coronavirus death, 64 new cases Friday

The move comes two days after the province started booking appointments for First Nations people aged 75 and over and for others 95 and up.

Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes.

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Health officials have said they plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months.

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They say most people over 80, and First Nations individuals over 60, could be eligible in early March.

Read more: Coronavirus vaccination now open to Manitobans 95 and over, First Nations 75 and over

Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province’s vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if new vaccines are approved and supplies are steady.

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The province plans to have all personal care home residents vaccinated with two doses by the end of February, and has started sending teams to other congregate living settings such as group homes and shelters.

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On Friday the province also announced the location of a new large-scale vaccination site planned for the Winkler/Morden area.

The new clinic, which will be the fifth such site in Manitoba, will be located at the Access Event Centre in Morden.

Read more: Manitoba health officials report 1 coronavirus-related death, 70 new cases

The province says the Morden location is slated to open March 12, subject to vaccine availability.

–With files from The Canadian Press

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, visit our coronavirus page.

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