COVID-19 in Indigenous communities: 75% of First Nations and Inuit adults have had 1st vaccine dose

As COVID-19 vaccinations increase across the country, the number of active cases is dropping in First Nations and Inuit communities are dropping according to Indigenous Services Canada.

459,380 vaccine shots have been administered in First Nations and Inuit communities

Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller holds a news conference in Ottawa in March. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

With 75 per cent of adults living in First Nations and Inuit communities partially vaccinated against COVID-19,  the number of active cases is dropping according to the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada.

"I'm encouraged to see the overall number of cases dropping as the vaccination rates increase, however the pandemic is not yet behind us," said Marc Miller, minister of Indigenous Services Canada at a news conference on Wednesday. 

"We're doing much better now than at other points during this crisis and in order to keep this momentum we must remain vigilant. We must get the vaccination rates for first doses even higher and get a second dose of vaccine to everyone who wants one."

There were 741 active cases in First Nations as of May 25.

Manitoba currently has the highest rate of new COVID infections in the country. Second dose appointments are now open to Indigenous people in the province. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are also assisting in 11 First Nations in northern Manitoba with vaccination efforts.

Since the pandemic began, there have been a total of 29,195 cases in First Nations communities. One death was reported since last week, bringing the total number of First Nations people living on-reserve who have died from the virus to 333. The number of First Nations people who have recovered from the disease is now at 28,121.

"The COVID case count is a reminder that it is essential to follow public health measures to keep our loved ones, our communities and ourselves safe," said Miller.

"This includes minimizing in-person interactions with persons outside of your immediate household, avoiding crowded places, wearing a mask and washing your hands frequently."

Total cases in First Nations communities per region reported as of May 25:

    • British Columbia: 3,068
    • Alberta: 8,362
    • Saskatchewan: 7,056
    • Manitoba: 7,852
    • Ontario: 2,095
    • Quebec: 740
    • Atlantic: 22


    To date, 459,380 vaccine doses have been administered in 687 First Nations and Inuit communities. The number includes 154,108 second doses.

    Read more about Indigenous vaccination efforts:

    Pandemic stories:

    What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

    • New or worsening cough.
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
    • Temperature equal to or over 38 C.
    • Feeling feverish.
    • Chills.
    • Fatigue or weakness.
    • Muscle or body aches.
    • New loss of smell or taste.
    • Headache.
    • Gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting).
    • Feeling very unwell.

    If you think you may have COVID-19, please consult your local health department to book an appointment at a screening clinic. 

    CBC Indigenous is looking to hear from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit who have contracted COVID-19 or lost a loved one to COVID-19. If you would like to share your story, please email us at