Manitoba changing eligibility for fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose

Manitoba's top doctor says health officials are changing the eligibility for a second COVID-19 booster vaccine.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, said anyone over the age of 50 is now eligible to receive their fourth vaccine dose, while Indigenous people 30 or older can receive the booster.

Roussin also noted the interval between doses is being decreased as well, dropping from six months to four months.

"Vaccination is the best way to protect ourselves. So please, if you haven't received your first, second or third dose, please get that as soon as you are eligible for, as soon as you become eligible for it," said Roussin.

This comes as Roussin said COVID-19 levels are stabilizing in Manitoba, according to recently collected data.

"This wave has been predominately a BA.2 wave. Almost all of our sequencing has been BA.2," said Roussin.

He noted there have been downward trends in both hospital and ICU admissions, noting those stats have peaked already in Manitoba.

Roussin also addressed the number of deaths that have been reported recently in the province, 16 in the week of May 8 to 14.

"There are a number of factors at play. One is just the nature of Omicron, the way we see such widespread infection," he said. "The other thing is just the nature of that Public Health isn't investigating each of these cases. So just like in (the) hospital, where we see you know, 75 per cent of people admitted there with COVID, aren’t there for COVID. So it's very likely we are seeing things that are incidentally related."