Manitoba pausing printing of immunization cards due to ‘overwhelming demand’

The Manitoba government has temporarily stopped printing immunization cards that prove people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The province says, due to overwhelming demand for the physical card and an overall industry demand for blank cards, supplies are low and printing is being suspended until sometime later this month.

Read more: Vaccine divide causing strife in some Manitoba families, friend groups

Digital immunization cards, which people can get online two weeks after their second dose, continue to be available.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced the secure immunization cards in early June.

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Manitoba looking at ‘hopeful’ summer, but top doctor advises caution

The cards are available for anyone with a Manitoba health card who applies 14 days after getting their second shot.

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Manitobans who can prove they’ve been fully vaccinated are allowed expanded visits at health-care facilities, including hospitals and personal care homes, and also don’t have to quarantine for two weeks after returning home from outside the province.

Read more: ‘The next few months will be critical’: Manitoba pushes to reach those leery of COVID-19 vaccine

The cards may also be required to determine access to major sporting events, museums and other facilities. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have already said proof of immunization will be required to get into IG Field this summer.

Walk-in vaccine appointments

Earlier this week health officials said the province is about to reach a new marker in the pandemic — the supply of COVID-19 vaccines is set to exceed demand on a daily basis.

Johanu Botha, co-lead of the provincial vaccination team, says shipments from the federal government continue to increase. And with more than half of eligible Manitobans fully immunized, Botha says the demand for shots shows signs of dropping.

Read more: Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine yet in Manitoba? How to book it and where to go

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Botha says the effort now is to persuade more people to get a dose.

In that effort on July 14, the government is planning to open all its vaccine super-sites only to people looking for both first and second shots without appointments.

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Manitoba to host province-wide walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics next week

The province says while Pfizer doses will be earmarked for youth between 12 and 17, Moderna will also be available for adults at all sites.

Hours have also been expanded at the RBC Convention Centre, Leila, Steinbach, Selkirk and Brandon super sites until Saturday.

Read more: Problems getting your vaccination card, Manitoba? Here’s how to fix it

To date 75.9 per cent of eligible Manitobans aged 12 and up have received one dose of vaccine and 55.2 per cent have received two shots, according to a provincial website tracking vaccination efforts.

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First- and second-dose vaccine appointments can be made by calling 1-844-626-8222 (1-844-MAN-VACC) or visiting the province’s website.

— with files from Shane Gibson

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.

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.

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© 2021 The Canadian Press

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