Critiques that Manitoba is not vaccinating as many people against COVID-19 as other Canadian jurisdictions are misleading, according to the premier.

While it is true that fewer Manitobans are receiving their vaccinations against the virus than other western provinces, Brian Pallister says it is the result of a more thorough immunization plan, not the mishandling of resources as some have been suggesting. He says the primary reason for that difference is that Manitoba has chosen to prioritize giving individuals both the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccination.

“Other provinces are putting all of their emphasis onto the first dose, some of them are even strategically planning to continue doing that by ignoring the second dose and delay putting it in," explains the premier. "Manitoba is not following that. That is not the advice we have received from national health authorities or the company who made the vaccines themselves.”

While the first dose has been proven to offer protection against COVID-19, Pallister says the second shot ensures it is as effective as it can possibly be.

“I bristle at the suggestion that somehow Manitoba’s planning, done so intensely over such a long period by so many civil servants, is not good,” he states. “It is great!”

Another reason Manitoba has been holding onto doses of the drug and not immediately administering them is out of precaution in case there are unexpected issues in the supply chain. Therefore, Pallister does not think it is right to fault health officials and government bodies for being proactive.

“It may look like we are not getting the vaccine out but, in fact, we are getting it out, and we are making sure we have a reserve in order to get it out the second time.”

Meanwhile, thanks to the strict public health orders that remain in place in Manitoba, Pallister says the weekly COVID-19 case count is down by 19.2 per cent. Citing Statistics Canada by way of comparison, Pallister says all other western provinces are experiencing rising weekly counts in the wake of the Christmas season.

-In British Columbia, case counts are up by 11.9 per cent
-In Alberta, case counts are up by 6.7 per cent
-In Saskatchewan, case counts are up by 27.2 per cent
-In Ontario, case counts are up by 36.4 per cent
-In Quebec case counts are up by 13.2 per cent

“This is not a victory lap,” clarifies Pallister. “We are cheering for all of our Canadian friends and neighbors to get Covid under control there too. We will continue to hope for the best in other jurisdictions but we must remember to do the right things here.”

Offering details given to him by senior health officials, Pallister estimates the strict rules in Manitoba have saved hundreds of lives that would