Manitoba continues to inch closer to its next vaccine rate milestone.
Manitoba's Vaccine Implementation Task Force says more than 1.75 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in our province. As of Thursday, 79.3 per cent of Manitobans have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 68.6 per cent have received two doses.
"(This) means we are less than one per cent away from our reopening plan's third milestone for dose ones," notes Johanu Botha, operations, logistics and planning lead. "Making Manitoba one of the most vaccinated provinces in the country."
The task force notes that focus will be less on supersites, and more on accessibility. This will involve continued work with physicians and pharmacists to offer vaccines in communities that may face increased barriers.
Botha adds that work continues to provide people with both digital and physical immunization cards, and a major issue they are noticing is that surnames on health cards are not matching names provided.
"This, for example, might happen when someone gets married, and if they did change their last name after they were married, it might not line up to the name on their card," notes Botha. "This could pop up as a records correction issue and there could be a delay."
Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead, Vaccine Implementation Task Force, notes they are hearing that people are seeking out antibody testing to determine COVID-19 immunity. She cautions against doing this and says the results of these tests are nuanced and are not the best indicator in determining if an individual is immune to a virus.
"These tests are expensive and they are not necessary for individuals. They may lead you to a false sense of reassurance that you cannot get sick. Getting an antibody test is also not a reason to justify not getting a vaccine," says Reimer. "There are many research reasons to get this testing, but there's no reason for anyone to make that decision for themselves. The information an antibody test gives you, as an individual, is not enough to be meaningful, and we don't yet know how to interpret the numbers that you are being given. The best thing that you can do to be reassured that you have some protection against COVID-19 is to get the vaccine."
*Written by Brian Oliver