Tony Pimentel, Mayor of Winnipeg Beach

Tony Pimentel, Mayor of Winnipeg Beach

I was vaccinated at a pharmacy in Winnipeg Beach, which seemed more convenient than driving to the Super-Site clinic in Selkirk. When I first called, all the doses were spoken for but I asked the pharmacist to call me if anyone cancelled an appointment, and I was able to get a shot of AstraZeneca pretty quickly. I didn’t have any side effects.

I think vaccination is very important if we all want to get back to seeing our family. I come from a big Portuguese family and we’re very family-oriented. There’s about 20 of us when we all get together, but that hasn’t happened for over a year. Over Christmas, we had Zoom get-togethers with my parents and siblings—it’s not a nice way to spend Christmas. My niece had planned a wedding for 200 people, but in the end she had 50 people outdoors. My good friend’s father died from COVID and they couldn’t have a large funeral. We would love to have been there to show our support for the family. That was sad. I also regret missing funerals for Winnipeg Beach citizens where I would like to have shown my respects.

Winnipeg Beach is a resort community and we depend on our tourists. As Mayor, I’m hoping we can go ahead this summer with the bands we’ve booked to play in the bandstand. Last summer people were good about social distancing while they enjoyed the beach and the provincial park. Four businesses stayed closed because the owners decided social distancing wasn’t possible—I own Playland Arcade and we stayed closed.

Vaccination is a way to get back to normal life. In our lifetime, we’ve all gotten different vaccines for things like chicken pox, mumps, or shots for travel. Now quite a lot of people have had the vaccines and it’s been proven to be safe. Some people do get some side effects. But as Dr. Roussin says, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

I know some people are scared of needles. The shot is relatively painless though. Getting vaccinated gives us the opportunity to get back to gathering with other people, whether it be around a campfire, going to church, or going to a sporting event. Normally you go to the lake, have a bonfire, roast some marshmallows, and have your neighbours come over. I would like to have our Lions Club meetings in person again.

When COVID is all over, let’s not forget the hard work that our front line workers like doctors and nurses have gone through. The one good thing about this whole thing is that we could spend time with people at home. The pandemic gave us a chance to realize how precious our immediate families are.

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Additional Resources

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine from official sources.