Manitoba expects a significant increase in its supply of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the final weeks of July.
The latest vaccine backgrounder says 113,500 doses of Pfizer are confirmed for the week starting July 19, followed by 133,400 doses the following week.
During the seven-day period ending Tuesday, Manitoba administered an average of 25,042 doses of COVID-19 vaccine per day.
The province now expects to administer more than 35,000 doses per day by the third week of July.
Pfizer’s weekly delivery, which had held steady at 87,800 since late May, is reduced for the first two weeks of July to 32,800 and 52,700. As of last week, the province had no confirmation of shipment to- beyond this period.
This prompted the province to stop making new second dose appointments for 12-17 year olds. Currently, Pfizer is the only COVID-19 vaccine approved for this age group.
This led to long lines at walk-in clinics where parents hoped to get the first or second dose for their children.
People started lining up outside the vaccination supersite on Leila Avenue in Winnipeg on Tuesday evening to take a walk-in spot on Wednesday morning. At 7 a.m., site staff started turning people away.
Pfizer’s shortfall had also led adults to swap appointments with Moderna and shift their reserved Pfizer doses to a younger person.
The increased demand for vaccines could be tempting to criminals, which is the case in other parts of the country, Reimer said.
Health Canada has been made aware of some people claiming to have access to vaccines for sale, she said. The health agency has also been made aware of the circumstances in which people have been made aware of the next steps after their vaccination by people not authorized to provide such information.
It could be an attempt to obtain private information, so people are advised to be vigilant.
“Please note that the COVID vaccine is not for sale. If someone tries to sell the vaccine, it’s illegitimate, ”said Reimer, although no incidents have been reported in Manitoba so far.
“But if you are aware of any suspicious vaccine activity, such as someone trying to sell the vaccine or supply it in volume at cost, please contact your local law enforcement agency.”
Manitoba set a new single-day record on Tuesday, administering 34,320 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The previous record was 32,616, set on May 27.
This is the highest per capita rate in Canada, with 97,909 hits per 100,000 population. Ontario is second with 97,856.
“We are very happy today to be able to celebrate the fact that more Manitobans are vaccinated than at any other time in our vaccine rollout and that these numbers continue to rise,” Dr. Joss Reimer, COVID-Vaccine Medical Officer Manitoba’s 19 Implementation Task Force, said Wednesday.
“We hope this trend continues, especially now that eligibility is wide open for everyone, including young people between the ages of 12 and 17.”
2nd dose climbs
So far, 73.6% of Manitobans aged 12 and over have received a first dose of the vaccine, the province vaccination dashboard said, while 42.4 percent have two doses.
“It is truly worthy of celebration to know what we have all done together to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities,” said Reimer.
“So I want to thank everyone in Manitoba for these exciting numbers. “
The province is aiming to get one dose to 75 percent of people 12 years and older and two doses to 50 percent by Aug. 2, as part of its plan to reopen.
If Manitoba meets this target, business capacity limits are expected to increase to 50%. These changes could come sooner, if the goals were met sooner, officials said.
The third phase of reopening will follow on Labor Day, so 80 percent of Manitobans have one dose and 75 percent have two.
Reimer brought up the subject of groundbreaking COVID-19 infections – cases in someone who has been vaccinated against the virus – saying that shouldn’t deter anyone from getting the vaccine.
The chance of getting COVID-19 without any vaccine protection is much higher, she said.
“We know that none of these vaccines are 100% effective, but we also know that it is very rare to get infected after the vaccine and even rarer to get seriously ill,” Reimer said.
In all COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Manitoba from January 1 of this year to June 27, only 1.2% of people were fully vaccinated, she said.
“So I don’t want anyone to worry about these revolutionary cases. They are very rare and I don’t want them to prevent anyone from getting vaccinated.”