The vaccine rate in Manitoba continues to slowly creep upwards.
As of today, 84.0 per cent of eligible Manitobans have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 79.0 per cent have received two doses.
Manitoba Premier Kelvin Goertzen acknowledges there are some people who feel the vaccine is being forced upon them, which is why he says he tries to use language that is not forceful.
"I think language sometimes matters when we are speaking about these things, I think your approach sometimes matters," says Goertzen. "I don't know of anybody who has changed their mind in an argument on Facebook."
Goertzen points out that in Manitoba, we do not have "forced vaccination," or "vaccine mandates." Rather, he says our province has a required testing provision for those not vaccinated.
The Premier says recently when he has noticed people make the decision to become vaccinated, it is after those individuals have conversations with people they trust in their community, their family, friendship circle or business.
"Sometimes language matters and sometimes tone matters and I don't want people to think that it is a forced choice," stresses Goertzen. "I want people to know it's the right choice."
When it comes to conflict arising from people either refusing to get vaccinated or listen to public health orders, Goertzen says this is something that concerns him. He notes it is one thing to disagree with someone else, but it is an entirely different matter when you enter into conflict engagement with that person.
With regards to protests, Goertzen says there is a time and place for those.
"Protesting in front of the hospital, it's not appropriate, it's not the place for that kind of demonstration, you can intimidate people going into hospital, you can prevent people from maybe getting treatment that they need and it doesn't quite make sense because the people in the hospitals aren't making these decisions," says Goertzen.
He notes having a peaceful protest at the Legislature or City Hall are actually within our rights as Canadians.
Goertzen says, for the most part, the hesitancy towards vaccines or restrictions is not being initiated by leaders in the faith community.
"I believe that 95 percent of faith-based leaders, while they may not agree with everybody, are asking those in their congregation to act in a way that is reflective of the faith that they are practicing," says Goertzen.
Goertzen says the discussions and decisions happening with public health officials are all with the goal of keeping our province open this fall.
"I would implore people that I know it feels like this is going to last forever, it's not going to last forever," assures Goertzen. "But the actions that we take and the things that we do, some of those memories are going to last forever for people."