‘It represented hope’: Manitoba’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign hits one-year milestone

WINNIPEG –

It’s been one whole year since the Manitoba government kicked off its ProtectMB COVID-19 vaccine campaign, and the province is celebrating the milestone.

“It is hard to believe a year has gone by and we still have so much work to do,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the Vaccine Implementation Task Force. “I think it’s important to mark our milestones even in the midst of difficult challenges when we are looking ahead.”

Dr. Brian Sharkey, one of the first Manitobans to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, was one of several speakers at a news conference Thursday morning.

“Receiving the vaccine allowed me to go back to my patients in urgent care, in the hospital wards, assisted living facilities, and in their home,” he said. “I just want to do my job, and the vaccine let me do that.”

Dr. Sharkey and Lori Ann Laramee, clinical lead of Vaccine Implementation Task Force, both received a letter of honour from Manitoba’s Lieutenant-Governor for their contributions during the pandemic.

“It was a day of happiness as it represented hope,” said Laramee, about her administering the province’s first dose a year ago.

“It was also a day of admiration to see a team in just a short couple of days able to plan and execute that a vaccine campaign that would carry us at least 365 days later.”

So far, Manitoba has administered 2,283,775 doses of the vaccine.

As of the province’s most recent data on Wednesday, 83.9 per cent of eligible Manitobans have received one dose of the vaccine and 78.1 per cent have received two doses.

At the conference, the province said all eligible Manitobans should try to get a third dose as soon as possible.

Right now, 10.5 per cent of eligible Manitobans have three doses.

Health and Seniors Minister Audrey Gordon said she received her third dose Wednesday.

“It’s a relief to have the added protection and immunity, especially in time for the holiday season,” she said.

Currently, all Manitobans over the age of 60 and all adults living in First Nations communities can book a third dose of the vaccine if they’ve received their second dose on or before July 10.

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