Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building, in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski

Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building, in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski

Manitoba premier asks U.S. government to let states ship vaccines across border

Positivity rate in Manitoba stood at 14.3 per cent provincially and 16.8 per cent in Winnipeg

The United States government could give Manitoba’s COVID-19 vaccine drive a boost if it allowed individual states like North Dakota to begin exporting shots on their own, the province’s premier said Saturday.

Brian Pallister said the U.S. has exported vaccines on a country-to-country basis, but he argued allowing individual states to do so could speed up the process.

Pallister said he has written to U.S. President Joe Biden on the issue, but has not yet received a response.

“The vaccines are sitting in freezers miles away (in North Dakota). We have people here waiting and we need those vaccines up here,” Pallister said Saturday.

North Dakota had asked the White House earlier this year for permission to ship some vaccines to Manitoba for teachers and other school workers, but the request was denied, the premier added.

Pallister’s comments came hours as Manitoba continued to face a harsh third wave of the pandemic.

Health officials reported 476 new COVID-19 cases Saturday — down from a record 603 earlier in the week — and six new deaths linked to the virus.

The percentage of people testing positive, averaged over five days, continued to rise and stood at 14.3 per cent provincially and 16.8 per cent in Winnipeg.

The province’s intensive care units have been pushed to such an extent that some patients are being transferred to hospitals in Ontario.

To address the dire situation, Ottawa agreed to send another 50 contact tracers to Manitoba.

Science Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne shared the news in a tweet on Saturday night.

Pallister had also called Friday for the federal government to send 50 critical care nurses and 20 respiratory therapists to Manitoba, but Champagne did not address that request.

As of Saturday, 48 per cent of Manitobans aged 12 and over had received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to provincial data.

The Opposition New Democrats said Pallister’s rare Saturday news conference was an attempt to divert people’s attention.

“What we see is a premier flailing in a desperate attempt to distract from the failures of his government,” NDP Leader Wab Kinew said.

North Dakota only has some 55,000 doses on hand, Kinew added, so its ability to help Manitobans is limited.

Pallister said all extra vaccines are welcome, especially amid uncertainty over some future supplies. The Public Health Agency of Canada said Friday it is no longer confident it will receive another six-to-eight million doses of the Moderna vaccine next month.

“Your country has more vaccines than it will administer, our country has less vaccines than it needs,” Pallister wrote in his letter to Biden, dated Thursday.

“This is a perfect partnership opportunity to keep our citizens safe, our economies strong, and our borders open as we battle COVID-19 together.”

Biden announced on Monday the U.S. will share an additional 20 million doses with other countries over the next six weeks, although there was no word on how many might come Canada’s way.

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

CoronavirusManitobaUSAvaccines

Just Posted

Traffic will be diverted through Radium along highways 93 and 95 as a part of the closures. (Claire Palmer photo)
Extended closures to Trans-Canada Highway announced east of Golden this fall

It’s the second round of extended closures as a part of Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO.KTW
Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Most Read