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Government of Canada COVID-19 Update for Indigenous Peoples and communities

·4 min read

OTTAWA, TRADITIONAL UNCEDED ALGONQUIN TERRITORY, ON, April 29, 2021 /CNW/ - Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is closely monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases reported in First Nations communities across the country.

As we mark National Immunization Awareness Week (NIAW) 2021, it is a reminder of the importance of vaccines to protect people against disease. This year during NIAW, talk to your family and friends about the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine and of keeping up to date with other routine vaccinations. Vaccines protect you—and others—from serious vaccine-preventable diseases, as well as help reduce the burden on Canada's health care system.

While COVID-19 vaccines roll out across the country, we must also continue to follow public health measures to keep our loved ones, our communities and ourselves safe. This includes minimizing in-person interactions with people outside your immediate household, avoiding crowded places, wearing a mask and washing your hands frequently.

In First Nations communities, as of April 28, ISC is aware of

  • 27,059 confirmed positive COVID-19

  • 723 active cases

  • 26,024 recovered cases

  • 312 deaths.

There is one active case in Nunavik, Quebec. As of April 28, the Government of Nunavut is reporting 50 active cases of COVID-19 in Iqaluit, Kinngait and Rankin Inlet. Canada is committed to supporting Nunavut during this latest outbreak.

As of April 26, 2021, more than 14.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been distributed across the country. As of April 27, 366,418 vaccine doses have been administered in 661 First Nations, Inuit and territorial communities. Based on Statistics Canada's 2020 population projections, over 59% of adults in First Nations communities, as well as over 72% of adults living in the territories, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

There are many examples of success across the country as vaccines continue to be rolled out. In Quebec, all First Nations communities have started mass vaccination. Kahnawake community completed its mass vaccination campaign last week. Overall, 74% of eligible community members have been vaccinated at the mass clinic.

In Alberta, vaccination is also underway in all First Nations communities. As of April 25, 39% of the population aged 18 and older living on reserve has received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 16% has been fully vaccinated. Indigenous leaders in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo continue to demonstrate leadership and are working diligently on the vaccination rollout and uptake. Vaccine availability has increased, and eligibility has expanded for residents of the Wood Buffalo Region in response to the significant rise in COVID-19 cases. It is encouraging to see the support and partnerships in the vaccination rollout. Despite a recent surge in cases in Alberta, active cases among First Nations communities on reserve remain relatively low, with a total of 223 active cases.

Urban vaccine planning continues to be a priority across the country. A two-day pop-up vaccination clinic for Indigenous Peoples was set up last weekend at the N'Amerind Friendship Centre in London, Ontario. In addition, a clinic for urban Indigenous Peoples opened in Calgary, Alberta on April 21. This is the second clinic run by a coalition of Indigenous-led organizations to open in the city. The Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN–S) also launched its "Vaccinated Métis Strong" campaign on Friday, partnering with the Saskatchewan Health Authority to hold a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the new downtown MN–S building in Saskatoon.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) also continue to assist vaccination teams with the accelerated pace of immunization in a number of on-reserve Indigenous communities in Northern Manitoba. So far, the CAF has assisted 11 communities. Last week, the CAF, alongside community healthcare professionals, assisted with vaccination clinics and community outreach in Barren Lands First Nation, O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation and Northlands Denesuline First Nation. This week, the CAF will plan for the delivery of second-dose clinics.

Since late January 2021, CAF has been assisting provincial vaccination authorities with tasks associated with vaccine administration in more than 25 communities of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation in Northern Ontario. This week, the CAF will be assisting Wunnumin and Pikangikum First Nation communities with the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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SOURCE Indigenous Services Canada

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View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/April2021/29/c0956.html

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