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April 21, 2021 | News, Staff News

Many in-centre hemodialysis patients in Winnipeg and Brandon were able to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in their dialysis units recently.

The Manitoba Renal Program was pleased to see collaboration with Manitoba Public Health to bring Focused Immunized Teams (FITs) into Winnipeg and Brandon hemodialysis units during the month of April.

“This is an important initiative to help provide more protection for our patients,” explained Dr. Mauro Verrelli, provincial renal specialty lead for Shared Health. “We want to reduce barriers and facilitate access to the vaccine because we know these patients are at increased risk for complications if they contract COVID-19.”

Vaccinations took place over several days in April during morning, afternoon and evening dialysis appointment times to ensure opportunities for all patients. Hemodialysis units located at St. Boniface Hospital, Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg, Seven Oaks General Hospital and the Brandon Regional Health Centre took part in the initiative.

Most in-centre hemodialysis patients receive hemodialysis three days a week with each appointment lasting four hours. For many patients, the length of their dialysis appointments and travelling to hospital multiples times a week is already a significant task. Being able to access vaccination in the dialysis unit reduces the need for these patients to make additional travel arrangements to get vaccinated. Patient participation in the initiative was optional.

Winnipeg and Brandon units were chosen for this initiative because of the high numbers of patients and size of the hospitals. These sites provide hemodialysis treatments for 1,084 hemodialysis patients.

The Manitoba Renal Program will continue to look for additional opportunities to reduce barriers and facilitate patient access to vaccination. Patients can read more about COVID-19 vaccination here.

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