A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is displayed at a pop-up vaccine clinic for EMS workers Center Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Salt Lake City. Moderna informed the federal government in Canada that the next expected vaccine shipment scheduled for the end of April will be 650,000 doses instead of the more than 1.2 million expected. (Rick Bowmer/AP Photo)

First Nations in Manitoba to receive initial shipment of COVID-19 vaccine

First Nations in Manitoba will receive the first shipment of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 according to a statement from Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister.

Starting on Thursday, Manitoba will be sending 5,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine to support the launch of an immunization campaign in all 63 First Nations within the province. 

“We are proud to have built a solid and respectful partnership with First Nations leaders and their medical experts so that this critical work can move forward safely and effectively,” Pallister said. “The vaccines being delivered starting tomorrow are another historic event in our province’s response to the pandemic.”

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) and the province of Manitoba, in collaboration with the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin (KIM) and Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) also announced that their initial priority groups for immunization includes essential healthcare workers, residents in personal care homes and older Manitobans. 

“This is just the start of the vaccine rollout and we appreciate the patience of everyone in allowing our First Nations health experts to provide us the necessary guidance in this endeavor,” said AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.

The initial priority groups are as follows:

  • Essential health care workers that provide services in remote and isolated communities who cannot access the provincial vaccination supersites;
  • Residents and staff of personal care homes and elder care facilities;
  • People over the age of 60 living in remote and isolated communities;
  • People over the age of 70 living in non-remote communities

“On behalf of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, I commend the First Nations leaders for their ongoing advocacy and diligent work in protecting their communities from COVID-19,” MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee said in a statement. “The vaccine provides us with some hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we are hopeful that all First Nations people who want to receive a vaccine will be able to do so in the near future.”

In addition, Manitoba has committed another 5,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine for First Nation communities within the province in February. 

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