Elders in Indigenous communities will be among first to receive COVID-19 vaccine

SIX NATIONS — A long-awaited vaccine for Covid-19 is set to be delivered to Canada by the end of this month, with vulnerable populations, including Indigenous populations, among the first to receive doses of the first batch of the vaccine.

Six Nations Elected Councillor Nathan Wright said during Tuesday’s General Council meeting that there are 40,000 doses earmarked for Ontario’s 133 First Nations.

The vaccine, developed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, is being hailed as a game-changer in the fight against Covid-19 with a reported 95% effectiveness rate in warding off the illness.

Wright said those vaccines must be cold stored and can only be transported once, presenting some concern for remote First Nation communities.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada secured doses of the vaccine last week, with prioritization on certain populations to receive the first dose of the vaccine.

According to Canada.com, the rollout will come in stages, with recommendations that initial doses of authorized COVID-19 vaccine(s) should be offered to individuals without contraindications in the following populations:

-Residents and staff of congregate living settings that provide care for seniors

-Adults 70 years of age and older, beginning with adults 80 years of age and older, then decreasing the age limit by 5-year increments to age 70 years as supply becomes available

-Health care workers (including all those who work in health care settings and personal support workers whose work involves direct contact with patients)

-Adults in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences

Indigenous people face higher rates of diabetes than any other population in Canada, with experts noting diabetes as a risk factor in Covid-19 complications.

Canada is set to receive 249,000 doses of the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine this month, contingent on Health Canada authorization of the vaccine.

The doses will make up part of the eventual 76 million doses Canada is expected to secure from Pfizer.

Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council did not respond to requests seeking more information on the rollout of the vaccine on Six Nations.

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