The allocation of vaccines could be inequitable and extremely messy, said health experts, in a June 18, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Some people calling to book vaccinations aren’t eligible, Manitoba says

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government says its booking service that’s making appointments for eligible health-care workers to get COVID-19 vaccinations has received more than 100,000 phone calls since opening Saturday,

But there are only 900 spots available to receive the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, and the province says that about half of them were already filled by Sunday morning.

The province says some of the people who called do not meet the eligibility criteria, and they’re asking that only people who do meet the requirements to phone the booking line.

Only health-care workers whose work involves direct contact with patients are eligible for the first shots, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, and they must work in either critical, acute or long-term care settings.

There’s also age requirements: candidates must be 50 or older by Dec. 31 if you work in critical care, or 60 or older if you work in either acute care or long-term care.

People who will be working in the COVID-19 immunization clinics are also eligible.

“The province is asking for the co-operation of all Manitobans to review the eligibility criteria before calling to request an appointment as to not overwhelm booking systems and to reserve vaccination appointments for those who need it most,” the government said in a news release on Sunday.

The province has only shared the phone number for making vaccine appointments internally within the health-care system.

It said additional dates will be added to immunize the priority group as soon as possible, based on the next deliveries of vaccine.

Manitoba reported seven new COVID-19 deaths on Sunday, and 273 new confirmed cases.

There are 304 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Manitoba, with 43 in intensive care.

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