First Nations COVID-19 vaccination: Minister Wilson
Minister of Indigenous Relations Rick Wilson issued the following statement on the delay affecting the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations:
“We appreciate the strong leadership exhibited by First Nations leaders across the province to cooperate with public health authorities in responding to this pandemic. We value the leaders’ input and measures taken to date by First Nations.
“Recently, we have heard from First Nations leaders concerned about the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The four First Nations at Maskwacis are currently experiencing a serious rise in cases. Recognizing this, a limited number of doses were provided to Maskwacis Health Services on an emergency basis to help manage a large COVID-19 outbreak.
“Alberta’s government recognizes that First Nations are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why First Nations are prioritized in Phase 1 of the vaccine roll-out, so that any First Nation person over the age of 65 is included in the first phase compared to those over the age of 75 in the general population.
“I have spoken to many First Nations Chiefs to assure them that we want to distribute the vaccine as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, due to delays caused by the vaccine manufacturer and a lack of supply from the Federal government, the rollout to First Nations communities has been delayed.
“We renew our call on the Federal government to speed up the process of providing vaccines. Canada is now receiving less vaccines than other countries. This is not acceptable.”