Marking a significant milestone in veterinary healthcare, the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), in partnership with the Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) and the Government of Manitoba, proudly unveils the Limited Access Vaccinator Program. Passed at the MVMA Annual General Meeting on January 26, 2024, and slated to begin on June 1, 2024, this initiative is specially designed to deliver crucial veterinary services to underserved areas, focusing on communities located above the North 53rd parallel and all First Nations communities in Manitoba. Notably, this program is the first of its kind in Canada that engages private veterinarians directly with those in communities to provide these services.
The Limited Access Vaccinator Program is a strategic response to the acute shortage of veterinary professionals in Manitoba’s most remote and underserved areas. This innovative program empowers Registered Veterinary Technologists (RVTs) and trained non-veterinarians to deliver crucial veterinary services, including vaccinations and deworming, to communities that have historically faced significant challenges in accessing regular veterinary care. By enabling the provision of vaccinations and basic veterinary care in these areas, the program aims to prevent the spread of diseases such as rabies, which poses a significant health risk in communities with limited veterinary access.
Reflecting on the initiative, MVMA Executive Director/Registrar Corey Wilson said, “The Limited Access Vaccinator Program is a testament to what can be achieved through cooperative efforts. Working alongside the Winnipeg Humane Society and the Government of Manitoba, we are addressing the urgent need for veterinary services in Manitoba’s remote communities above the North 53rd parallel and in First Nations communities. This collaborative effort is not just about delivering veterinary care; it’s about enabling high standards of animal healthcare across the province, building stronger community relationships, and respecting the diverse needs and values of Indigenous Peoples. Our goal is to establish a model of veterinary service that is effective, culturally sensitive, and tailored to the unique characteristics of our province.”
Under the program, Designated Vaccinators will operate under the supervision of Sponsoring Veterinarians, ensuring safe and effective service delivery. This initiative not only addresses the immediate need for veterinary care but also fosters stronger ties between Indigenous communities and veterinary professionals, upholding values of cultural relevance and self-determination in healthcare and community services.
“In the spirit of reconciliation, the Limited Access Vaccinator Program is a significant step forward for the veterinary community in Manitoba. This program is more than just an initiative to address veterinary shortages; it represents a meaningful contribution to the reconciliation process with Indigenous communities. By training individuals to provide essential veterinary services to their community, we are not only improving animal health and welfare and protecting public health but also honouring the principles of respect, partnership, and cultural understanding. This effort reflects our commitment to building bridges and fostering relationships based on mutual trust and respect with Indigenous Peoples. We believe that through this program, we can make a positive impact and demonstrate our dedication to the principles of reconciliation in a tangible and impactful way,” stated Dr. Alexandra Jerao, Rabies & One Health Veterinarian with the Animal Health and Welfare Branch at the Chief Veterinary Office in Manitoba. “I’m very proud of the veterinary community for recognizing the need for this program and for the wholehearted support from our veterinary and public health partners, as well as for the interest and valuable guidance from the First Nations rightsholders that we have been able to engage with about the program.”
Media Contact Details:
For further information, please contact:
Michelle Kusano, Media Relations
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