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Manitobans 40 and over can now access AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Manitobans 40 and over can now get the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

In a release Monday morning the province said it is lowering the minimum age eligibility following similar moves by Ontario and Alberta.

Read more:
Ontario, Alberta to lower minimum age for AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from 55 to 40

The move is effective immediately, Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson said in the release.

“Tens of thousands of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine remain in clinics and pharmacies across the province, which is why we’re expanding the eligibility criteria for the vaccine,” said Stefanson.

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“I want to thank physician and pharmacy partners for their work to provide vaccine and look forward to the numbers of doses administered increasing quickly over the coming days.”

Eligible Manitobans can find their nearest clinic or pharmacy with available doses by visiting the province’s website.

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Up until now, the AstraZeneca vaccine in Manitoba had been available to those 65 and over, and to people between 55 and 64 with certain underlying medical conditions.

Health Canada has approved the vaccine for people under 55, but the National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended the shot only be offered to those 55 and older due to a slightly elevated risk of an extremely rare blood clot disorder.

There have been just two cases of blood clots in Canada out of the more than 700,00 doses of AstraZeneca administered so far.

“Based on all of the evidence available internationally to date, we continue to believe benefits of the AstraZeneca/ Covishield vaccine to protect against COVID-19 outweigh any potential risks,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead for the Vaccine Implementation Task Force.

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“Expanding the criteria will help us reach more Manitobans, particularly those who may face challenges or face barriers in going to a super site or pop-up clinic.”

Manitoba’s premier and the province’s top doctor are expected to have more details at a COVID-19 update Monday.

Brian Pallister and Dr. Brent Roussin have scheduled a press conference for 12:30 p.m. Global News will stream the event live in this story.

–With files from The Canadian Press

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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.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, visit our coronavirus page.

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