Dr Reimer says over 80% of Manitobans plan to get vaccinated
A spokesperson for the Manitoba Vaccine Implementation Task Force noted today that all vaccines shipped to Manitoba are safe.
Dr Joss Reimer says vaccines are by far the safest and most well-researched medical intervention in our health care system. She notes that there are systems in place to monitor negative outcome signals associated with vaccines that are not available for any other medical intervention.
“We want you to get the vaccine you have as quickly as possible,” says Dr Reimer. “It will help protect yourself, it will help protect those you love and others around you.”
Dr Reimer acknowledges that there have been questions about AstraZeneca, since it was linked to blood clots in some European countries.
“We don’t see that here,” she stresses. “The version of AstraZeneca used in Europe is not the same as the vaccine used in Canada. We do not have the same batch.”
But, even though it was the same batch, Dr Reimer says there is no indication that the vaccine caused any of the side effects reported in Europe. In fact, she says in the UK, they gave 11 million doses of AstraZeneca and found no increased risk of blood clots.
“Health Canada is in contact with European regulators and they will take immediate action if there is evidence that the vaccine increases the risk of blood clots,” says Dr. Reimer.
On Tuesday of this week, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expanded its recommendations for AstraZeneca to include people over the age of 64. However, this does not change the current eligibility criteria for Manitoba clinics and pharmacies.
Meanwhile, Dr Reimer says most of the case variants of concern in Manitoba are the UK variant. She notes that each of the vaccines used in Manitoba also works well against this variant. However, Dr Reimer says there appears to be some decrease in effectiveness against the South African variant, although it is still effective.
Currently, over 6% of Manitobans have received a dose of the vaccine. Recent research shows that an additional 63 percent say they want to be vaccinated and plan to get it as soon as they are eligible. Another 12 percent say they are likely to get the vaccine but are in no rush. Nine percent say they are concerned about the vaccine and are undecided, while 10 percent say they do not intend to be vaccinated.
Dr Reimer says that when it comes to herd immunity, it is believed that 70% of the population needs to be vaccinated for this to happen.
“So when I see that over eighty percent of Manitobans are anxious to get vaccinated, that really encourages me,” she says.