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Let Public Health Do Its Job: PCs Must Step Up Defense Against New Covid Variants & Monkeypox

Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg, MB - Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface, has written to Health Minister Audrey Gordon asking the government to step up its efforts to protect Manitobans against Covid with boosters and masks, as well as to start tracking and vaccinating for Monkeypox.

Even as new Covid variants are spreading and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global health emergency against Monkeypox, public health has been slow to respond.

Lamont said he’s heard complaints that the PCs shut down vaccination centres serving urban Indigenous communities and that frontline healthcare workers at risk of Covid exposures can’t get booster shots, and are receiving masks that aren’t medical grade.

“People are still getting sick, still landing in hospital, still dying every week, and still being debilitated by long covid. This is not over, and there is lots we can do to make it easier on each other,” Lamont said. “If the PCs expect people to assess their own risk, they need to let public health do its job. Let Manitobans have the data, boosters and masks they need. That is not happening.”

The letter asks the PCs to step up in four areas:

· Re-open vaccination centres with specific outreach for urban indigenous populations whose vaccination rates are lower and who are harder to reach

· Open up eligibility for second boosters for people working in health care to protect them and reduce the chance they will be knocked out of work

· Provide medical-grade masks to people working in health care, education and anyone else working in areas where they are likely to be exposed to Covid.

· Respond to the WHO’s declaration of a Monkeypox global health emergency with testing, tracking, and vaccination. A monkeypox vaccine already exists.

While many other provincial governments are still making covid vaccination and reporting a priority, the Manitoba PCs are standouts in burying the information.

“The PCs have been declaring the pandemic over for two years. If we just promoted masks and get people vaccinated, we can save lives. The question is why the PCs aren’t doing that.”

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