The Manitoba government says it expects to have thousands of doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine routed to Manitoba First Nations this week.
Manitoba’s acting deputy chief provincial public health officer, Dr. Jazz Atwal, said Thursday the province has received its first shipment of the Moderna vaccine — 7,300 shots — and efforts are now in place to get 5,300 doses distributed to northern and remote communities across the province
He said the province is working with First Nations health experts to determine exactly how the first doses will be delivered.
“There are physician leaders on the First Nations side and that plan is being developed at this point,” he said during a media availability Thursday.
“They’re going to decide how to use those doses, on what population, and how they want to roll that out.”
In a release the government said provincial health officials have been meeting with experts in First Nations health and leaders from the Manitoba First Nations Pandemic Response Co-ordination Team and the Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin Inc. since last week to work on plans for vaccine distribution.
The province says it has committed to arrange for planes to be available to ship the vaccine to priority locations chosen by the planning group.
“It is important that Indigenous voices are heard,” said Dr. Barry Lavallee, one of several First Nations health experts identified to help in planning by the three grand chiefs of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs), Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, and the Southern Chiefs’ Organization.