October 6, 2023
Manitoba Health advises that the first shipments of updated COVID-19 and seasonal flu vaccines are now being sent throughout the province, beginning with high-priority locations such as personal care homes and hospitals. It is expected these vaccines will begin to be more widely available to members of the public in the next few weeks, though some sites may have stock earlier than others.
People can begin accessing the updated flu and COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are available. The online vaccine finder at www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/vaccine.html#finder will be updated with new locations and clinic details as they are submitted to the province. There are many ways people can access their vaccines, either by booking directly with a pharmacy or medical clinic, using the online booking tool at https://patient.petal-health.com/login?groupId=6032, calling 1-844-MAN-VACC (1-844-626-8222) or by looking for upcoming community vaccine clinics.
An advertising campaign encouraging Manitobans to stay on track with their vaccinations will launch province-wide next week. Manitoba Health has also created a central online resource at www.manitoba.ca/protectMB to help people find information about COVID-19, seasonal flu and pneumococcal vaccines, including how to book.
The updated Moderna vaccine is currently being distributed to vaccine sites. More COVID-19 vaccines will continue to arrive over the coming weeks to ensure sufficient supply for all Manitobans who want to be immunized.
The respiratory virus season last year affected many younger children. Public health strongly recommends the seasonal flu vaccine for children aged six months to under five years old. Vaccination against both COVID-19 and seasonal flu is particularly important for people at higher risk of severe outcomes including:
- adults 65 years of age or older;
- residents of long-term care homes or other congregate living settings;
- individuals with underlying medical conditions that place them at higher risk;
- individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding;
- individuals in or from First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities;
- members of racialized and other equity-deserving communities; and
- people who provide essential community services.
More detailed lists of people at risk from COVID-19 and seasonal flu are available at www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/vaccine.html and www.gov.mb.ca/health/flu/index.html. People who have questions about COVID-19 or seasonal flu immunizations should speak with their health-care provider or call Health Links-Info Santé at 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) or 204-788-8200.
Public health officials would like to remind Manitobans it is safe and effective to receive more than one vaccine at a time.
There are many ways Manitobans can to protect themselves, their families and the community during the upcoming respiratory virus season including:
- choosing to be immunized against COVID-19 and the flu;
- staying home when you’re sick, until you feel better and no longer have a fever;
- choosing to wear a mask as an extra layer of protection;
- washing your hands or using hand sanitizer regularly;
- covering your coughs and sneezes; and
- regularly cleaning and disinfecting shared surfaces and objects.
Rapid tests and PCR testing are only recommended for people who are at high risk for serious outcomes as they need to know if they have COVID-19 to receive treatment options such as antivirals. Treatment must be started within days of symptoms appearing, so it is important to know if you are eligible and seek testing and as soon as possible. For more information about accessing treatment, speak with your health-care provider or call Health Links-Info Santé.
Rapid test kits continue to be available at no cost at many locations across the province. For more information about testing, including an online map of locations where rapid tests may be available, visit www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/testing.html.
Supports and resources continue to be available for people with long COVID. If you continue to have COVID-19 symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath or brain fog, more than three months after being sick, visit https://sharedhealthmb.ca/long-covid for more information or contact your health-care provider. It is important to note PCR or rapid tests results are not required for a person to be diagnosed with long COVID or to be referred for follow-up care.
A weekly epidemiology update on COVID-19 and seasonal flu is posted every Friday at www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/surveillance/influenza/index.html.