Manitoba projects 30 percent of residents will receive COVID-19 vaccine by June

Manitoba unveiled its COVID-19 immunization plan on Thursday and the timeline is far from encouraging.

The province projects that 30 percent of its residents will be vaccinated by June, which is when the 2021 CFL regular season is scheduled to begin at IG Field.

50 percent immunization is not expected until September, while 70 percent — which most scientists identify as the threshold for herd immunity — is projected for December.

Photo courtesy: Province of Manitoba. Tweeted by @ScottBilleck

Premier Brian Pallister claimed on Wednesday that every Manitoban could be vaccinated by the end of March if supply was available, though fewer than one-third of the doses the province has received have been administered to date.

The province’s projection is subject to change depending on the supply and distribution of approved vaccines.

Manitoba had extremely low COVID-19 case numbers in the summer, which included a string of zero positive tests from June 29 to July 12, 2020. The province later became a hot spot for the virus, consistently reporting between 200 and 500 new cases per day during the months of November and December.

Alberta doesn’t anticipate vaccinating the general public against COVID-19 until the fall, while B.C. and Saskatchewan plan to start doing so by March or April.

Immunizing the general population against COVID-19 is obviously key for the viability of a CFL season in 2021. The league has released a full schedule, though it is unlikely the league would proceed with games unless fans can be in attendance.

The CFL declined to comment on the vaccination projections by Alberta and Manitoba.

According to the federal government, any Canadian who wants the vaccine will have it by the fall.

COVID-19 vaccines will be available to everyone in Canada who are recommended to get the vaccine by federal, provincial and territorial public health bodies. Doses of the vaccines will be distributed in Canada in phases, which began in December 2020. Assuming the continued supply of safe and effective vaccines, it’s expected there will be enough vaccines to immunize everyone for whom vaccines are approved and recommended. We anticipate this will be accomplished by September of 2021.

Winnipeg is scheduled to host the opening game of the 2021 CFL regular season on Thursday, June 10 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

John Hodge is a CFL insider and draft analyst who has been covering the league since 2014.