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

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

Saanich Volunteer Services Society volunteers head out to deliver this week’s meals to local seniors. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
VIDEO: Weekly meal deliveries help brighten the day for Saanich seniors

Seniors are delivered nutritional meals by a group of volunteers every Wednesday

O.K. Industries is building a quarry next to Capital Regional District land, as shown in this map from the rezoning applicaiton. (Photo courtesy District of Highlands)
Millstream Quarry wins again in court against Highlands community’s appeal

Judges rule province not obligated to investigate climate change before issuing permit

Kidspace, which took over the YMCA-YWCA childcare centre at Eagle Creek Village, plans to reopen the Y’s fitness centre as the Eagle Creek Athletic Club in September. (Photo courtesy of Kidpsace)
Former Y fitness centre in View Royal aims to reopen in September

Kidspace taking over both the gym and the childcare facility at Eagle Creek Village

Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of Special Olympics B.C. kicks off with a run at Swan Lake on June 6. The virtual fundraiser runs until June 20. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Torch run seeks to scorch previous fundraiser, targets $75,000 for Special Olympics

Global movement shoots for 40,000 km in honour of the 40th anniversary

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read