April 30, 2021
Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg MB— The PC’s so-called plan to send Manitoba teachers to North Dakota for vaccinations is not only disrespectful it’s completely unnecessary: Manitoba has twice as many doses as the state. The most up to date reports show there are 109,445 doses sitting in fridges in Manitoba and 56,484 in North Dakota. “If Mr. Pallister had bothered to talk to a teacher before announcing this ill-conceived plan, they would have told him to check his math” said Kinew.
“If Mr. Pallister wanted to make safe schools a priority, he could vaccinate every single frontline educator and still have 80,000 doses left. Vaccinating frontline educators is the key to keeping schools open – it’s time for Mr. Pallister to learn a lesson from Manitoba’s teachers and make safe schools a priority.”
The Premier announced yesterday, seemingly without proper planning or the Canadian government’s consent, that the North Dakota government would provide vaccines for any Manitoba teachers or classroom staff that wants to travel to the border. The vaccine dashboards from each government show Manitoba has nearly twice as many unused doses as North Dakota.
According to the most recent government publication there are approximately 27,000 educational staff—meaning the PC government could give a first dose to every educator in Manitoba through the province’s immunization campaign and still have 80,000 doses left in its stockpile.
Teachers and government officials have raised numerous concerns about this plan already, including a federal self-isolation order for all international travelers, lack of access to transportation and out of date passports that have not been updated since the pandemic began. Educators say they can’t travel to the border without booking time off work, a situation that would put more pressure on Manitoba’s already stretched substitute teacher pool.
“Parents are worried about the safety of schools, but there is a simple solution: prioritize teachers and school staff for the vaccine today,” said Kinew. “For the Premier to roll out a gimmicky response to a serious and sincere request to keep schools safe proves his focus is on saving his own reputation than on ending the pandemic in Manitoba.”