The length of time between the first and second doses for the COVID-19 vaccine has been extended.

Manitoba’s vaccine task force has decided to begin lengthening the time between first and second doses for the vaccine to offer protection to more people faster.

The head of Manitoba’s vaccine task force, Dr. Joss Reimer, said new evidence suggests spacing out the doses by up to four months will still offer high levels of protection.

The initial recommendations from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine advise administering two doses of the vaccines spread apart by three and four weeks, respectively.

Across the country, B.C.’s top doctor announced plans on Monday to spread out doses by up to four months in that province.

Reimer said the province is following guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations.

So far more than 80,000 doses of the vaccines have been administered in Manitoba so far, including 30,000-second doses. About 2.7 percent of Manitobans 18 and older have been fully immunized.

Reimer did urge Manitobans who receive one dose not to get complacent. The second dose remains important for lasting immunity.