For immediate release
December 23, 2020
Treaty Five Territory, Thompson, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. is issuing this statement to respond to today’s announcement that Health Canada has approved the Moderna vaccine for use across Canada. This is the second type of COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved for use throughout Canada.
MKO represents and advocates on behalf of Northern First Nations in Manitoba. Both the federal and provincial governments have identified First Nations people as a group that should receive the COVID-19 vaccine on a priority basis.
To date, the Province of Manitoba has vaccinated nearly 1700 health care workers using the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna vaccine has not yet arrived in Manitoba.
Grand Chief Garrison Settee shared the following:
“MKO has no information about when either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines will be distributed or made available to MKO citizens. We would appreciate having some information about when the off-reserve First Nation population living in Winnipeg would be entitled to receive the vaccine. We also would appreciate knowing whether health care workers from our First Nations will get access to either vaccine anytime soon.
The communication coming from the Province of Manitoba about when MKO First Nations can expect to receive any kind of vaccine remains unclear. I do not have any information about the province’s plan for rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine besides what has been shared publicly.
I would appreciate clearer and ongoing communication from the province to ensure that First Nations leadership are kept informed of who is making decisions about our COVID vaccines and how these decisions are being made. We need to ensure that the data being collected and shared by the Manitoba First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team is reflected in decisions being made.
First Nations citizens are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and there are severe outcomes for First Nations people who have COVID-19 in Manitoba. While it is extremely positive news that Health Canada has approved the Moderna vaccine for use in Canada, leaders must work together in unity on an urgent basis. This is likely the largest vaccination campaign many of us will see in our lifetime. My office will continue to work to ensure that MKO citizens can acquire one of the vaccines as soon as possible.”
For more information:
Melanie Ferris, MKO Communications
Email: [email protected]