First doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine head to Manitoba First Nations

The first shipments of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 are being deployed to First Nations in Manitoba.

Essential workers, seniors to receive vaccine first

Thousands of doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are heading to Manitoba First Nations starting Thursday. (Charlie Riedel/The Associated Press)

The first shipments of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 are being deployed to First Nations in Manitoba. 

Beginning Thursday, the province will ship 5,300 doses of the vaccine to various communities to launch an immunization campaign for Manitoba's 63 First Nations, says a statement from Premier Brian Pallister. 

The first doses will be given to those in priority groups, determined by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the province, in collaboration with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), which represents northern Manitoba First Nations, Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin, a health organization formed by MKO, and the Southern Chiefs' Organization, which represents First Nations in southern Manitoba.

Those priority groups are:

  • Essential health-care workers providing services in remote and isolated communities who cannot access the provincial vaccination super sites; 
  • Residents and staff of personal care homes and elder care facilities; 
  • People over the age of 60 living in remote and isolated communities; and 
  • People over the age of 70 living in non-remote communities. 

"The hard work of First Nations leadership in Manitoba throughout this pandemic has prepared us for this day," AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas said in a written statement. 

The province has committed to shipping another 5,300 doses to First Nations communities in February. 

First Nations people represent nearly half of Manitoba's active COVID-19 cases, and half of all ICU patients.

Indigenous COVID-19 patients who are dying are decades younger than most non-Indigenous people who have died from the virus.