Uptake for the second dose of the Moderna vaccination in First Nation communities in Northern Manitoba is going well.
While Manitoba First Nations continue to show higher test positivity rates compared to non-Indigenous Manitobans, many First Nation communities have shown relatively good signs as their Elders continue to receive their vaccination.
In an online press conference on Tuesday, Dr. Michael Routledge confirmed that there is some improvement in severe cases from the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. communities due to the vaccine uptake.
“There are still a couple of communities in the MKO area that are struggling with some outbreaks, but by large, most MKO communities have been very quiet,” said Routledge, the medical advisor to MKO and Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin.
“In the north, we are seeing the case numbers and test positivity rates slowly come down. We are starting to see the outbreaks get under control, although again, they are some communities that are really struggling.”
Routledge added that the second allotment of vaccine supplies for Elders have arrived in most Manitoba First Nation communities including Sapotaweyak Cree Nation.
As of Monday, there are 843 active cases among First Nations people with 25 current hospitalizations and eight in intensive care units.
On Monday, the province updated the eligibility for vaccinations whereby First Nations born on or before Dec. 31, 1950, can now book their appointments to receive immunization against the virus.
“As I always tell our people, we are all in this together,” said Chief Nelson Genaille from Sapotaweyak Cree Nation who believes 40 more vaccine doses will arrive in his community soon.
“What’s going to happen next? You know, that’s what we need to prepare for. We don’t know what’s coming in the future for our children or grandchildren … how can we make it better? One good way is communication, another good way is teamwork, and another is to properly uplift ourselves because the mind is very powerful.”
Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
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Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun