To view this media release in a PDF format, please click here.
For immediate release
February 11, 2022
Treaty Five Territory, Thompson, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. is issuing this statement in support of the God’s Lake First Nation in Northern Manitoba.
On February 4, 2022, the leadership of God’s Lake First Nation received notice that 26 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered to citizens of the God’s Lake First Nation in error. Specifically, the vaccines were not properly stored and are thought to have become unviable.
Third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were also administered to teenagers between the ages of 12 to 17, despite the fact Indigenous teenagers were not eligible to receive a booster shot until this week.
God’s Lake Chief Hubert Watt shared:
“I am disappointed to learn 26 people from God’s Lake received doses of a vaccine that was improperly stored. It is also frustrating to know teenagers received a booster shot when they were not yet eligible to receive one.
As leaders, we have worked diligently to promote uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations citizens. It takes time for some people to feel comfortable to receive a vaccine. It is my hope this news does not increase hesitancy in people who are still thinking about getting vaccinated.
From December 19, 2021, to January 9, 2022, some of our citizens received outdated vaccine. It is very unfortunate for the people who received an outdated vaccine. It took until February 4, 2022, to be notified of this error.
The vaccines were administered by nurses hired by the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch at Indigenous Services Canada. Moving forward, I urge our federal partners to demonstrate a high level of care in their duties of providing comprehensive, reliable, and safe health care to First Nations.”
MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee stated:
“I am disappointed to know citizens in God’s Lake received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine that may not be viable. I’m concerned to know guidelines were not followed when it came to properly storing the vaccine. Lastly, the fact that teenagers received a booster shot before they were eligible is alarming. I stand with the request from God’s Lake First Nation leadership to the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch that they move forward with a diligent approach of providing reliable and safe health care services for First Nations citizens.”
AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas said:
“Oversight and monitoring of the vaccine distribution and storage is the responsibility of FNIHB and the Province. Their process in this instance failed. First Nations need to have a direct say on these processes to ensure accuracy. I commend Chief and Council for moving quickly to ensure the safety of their citizens.”
For more information:
Melanie Ferris, MKO Communications
Email: [email protected]