200 doses of COVID-19 vaccine being expedited to Oujé-Bougoumou

Amid a COVID-19 outbreak in Oujé-Bougoumou, Que., the regional public health department is speeding up its delivery of vaccines to the community's most vulnerable members.

Doses are being shared by Mistissini, Que.

On Friday, public health officials identified 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Cree community of Oujé-Bougoumou, located 750 kilometres north of Montreal. As of Saturday, that number had grown to 13. (CBC North/Jaime Little)

Amid a COVID-19 outbreak in Oujé-Bougoumou, Que., the regional public health department is expediting the delivery of 200 doses of the Moderna vaccine to the Cree community.

The Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay (CHSSJB) wants to quickly begin vaccinating elders and other "vulnerable community members," including people on dialysis, as well as front-line health care workers, according to a Saturday news release from the CHSSJB. Next in line for the doses will be people ages 55 and older, depending on availability. 

The doses are being shared from Mistissini, Que.'s supply, and were transported to Oujé-Bougoumou Saturday afternoon, says the CHSSJB.

Last Friday, public health officials said they identified 11 cases of COVID-19 in Oujé-Bougoumou, which has a population of about 950. As of Saturday, that number had grown to 13.

"The ongoing situation in Oujé-Bougoumou means there's a higher chance that vulnerable community members may be exposed to the virus while the contact-tracing team works to contain further, possible transmission," reads Saturday's release.

People on priority list can expect a call

CHSSJB says people who are on the priority list for the vaccine can expect a call. It wants everyone else to know that the next shipment of doses allocated for the Eeyou Istchee region are expected to arrive at the end of next week. 

The regional vaccination campaign for all Eeyou Istchee communities is expected to begin around Jan. 15.

The CHSSJB says all eligible adults can expect to be vaccinated "very soon."

"It has always been the Cree way of doing things to help and support each other in times of need. When a family in a nearby camp needs assistance, we do what we can to support them through the challenges they face," says the CHSSJB. 

"Sharing the first shipment of Moderna vaccines will help all of us to protect each other in this challenging time."

Anyone with questions about COVID-19 or the vaccine can call the COVID-19 info-line for Eeyou Istchee at 1-866- 855-281, or message @creehealth on Facebook with a name and call-back number.