COVID-19 Vaccine

About the Vaccine

More than one vaccine is being developed for COVID-19. In total, the federal government has agreements to access seven different COVID-19 vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca/Covishield.

Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines

The first vaccine approved for use in Canada on December 9, 2020 is made by Pfizer-BioNTech. Another vaccine, made by Moderna, was authorized on December 23, 2020.

In total, Manitoba has been told it will receive 228,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by March 31, 2021. This is enough to immunize approximately seven per cent of Manitoba’s population. However, over time it is expected we will receive enough vaccine for every Manitoban who wants to be immunized.

For more information: Pfizer Vaccine
For more information: Moderna Vaccine


The AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD was approved for use in Canada on Feb. 26, 2021. This vaccine has different storage requirements than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, which make it easier to transport and store. These vaccine doses will primarily be used to provide COVID-19 vaccines in doctors’ offices and pharmacies.

For more information: AstraZeneca/Covishield Vaccine

March 29, 2021 - Update on the use of the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine in Manitoba

Effective immediately and out of an abundance of caution, the AstraZeneca /Covishield vaccines will now only be used for people in Manitoba aged 55 to 64. This decision is based on rare but serious side effects observed in Europe, primarily among younger women.

In Manitoba, these vaccines are currently available through medical clinics and pharmacies. We are providing additional direction to our partners so that they can adjust their vaccine plans, which will mean that anyone under the age of 55 will be contacted to cancel their appointment. 

An increased risk of serious blood clots affects about 1 in every 125,000 to 1 in 1 million people who get this vaccine. These typically happen four to 20 days after immunization and symptoms can mirror the symptoms of a stroke or heart attack.  

Anyone who has these symptoms, whether or not they have received this vaccine, should seek medical attention: 

  • severe headache that does not go away;  
  • seizure;  
  • difficulty moving ;  
  • new, blurry vision that does not go away;  
  • difficulty speaking; 
  •  shortness of breath;  
  • chest pain; 
  •  severe abdominal pain; or
  • new severe swelling, pain, or colour change of an arm or a leg. 

To date, more than 14,000 doses of Manitoba’s 18,000 dose allocation of this vaccine have been administered. To date, this serious side effect has not been observed in Manitoba, or in Canada. 

At this time, the benefits of this vaccine for people aged 55 to 64 still outweigh the risk, as they are more likely to experience serious outcomes from COVID-19.

Following new evidence from Europe, Manitoba is pausing the use of these vaccines in people under the age of 55. This is being done out of an abundance of caution, because a rare but serious blood clotting issues has been observed in Europe.

An increased risk of serious blood clots affects about 1 in every 125,000 to 1 in 1 million people who get this vaccine. This has been termed "vaccine-induced pro-thrombotic immune thrombocytopenia", or VIPIT. These typically happen four to 20 days after immunization and symptoms can mirror the symptoms of a stroke or heart attack.

VIPIT is very rare. At this time, we do not know if certain people are more likely to get VIPIT but most cases in Europe have occurred in women under age 55. However, many of these countries used more of their initial vaccine supply in women under age 55.

There is no evidence this is more common in people who have had blood clots before, people with a family history of blood clots, people with a low platelets, or pregnant women. This is because VIPIT does not develop through the same process as usual types of bleeding or clotting problems.

No. Manitoba is closely monitoring all adverse events following immunization, for all vaccines. To date, there have been no cases of VIPIT observed in Manitoba or Canada.

There have been no confirmed cases of VIPIT with any other COVID-19 vaccine.

As of March 29, more than 14,000 of 18,000 doses provided to Manitoba have been administered.

We understand this pause is a disappointing change for those who had an appointment. At this time, we are not able to reschedule with a different type of vaccine, but will keep Manitobans posted if there are any changes.

For people aged 55 to 64, the benefits of any COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risk of these rare side effects.

About 1 in 100 Canadians who get COVID-19 end up needing intensive care and 1 in 5 Canadians who are hospitalized with COVID-19 develop blood clots.

No. Vaccines continue to be a highly monitored medical intervention, which allowed for this to be identified as quickly as possible.

The risk of blood clots from a COVID-19 infection is higher than the risk from AstraZeneca/Covishield. Anyone aged 55 or older who is booked for this vaccine is still advised to get it.

Manitoba public health officials will continue to monitor the situation and review the evidence. For the majority of people, the second dose is recommended up to four months after the first dose. During this time, it is expected evidence will continue to evolve about recommendations for use of second doses.

More information:

Procuring vaccines for COVID-19 - Government of Canada
Drug and vaccine authorizations for COVID-19 - Government of Canada