The COVID-19 vaccination effort on Manitoba First Nations is ramping up with 100,000 doses scheduled to be put in the arms of people living on reserve in the next 100 days.
“That is literally 100,000 doses in 100 days and so understanding that effort is going to require considerable co-ordination, considerable collaboration and a lot of support for our local health teams and our local leadership,” said Melanie MacKinnon, who leads the Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Co-ordination Team.
The first and second doses will be distributed in 63 First Nations and 21 adjacent northern communities , MacKinnon said during a weekly update Friday, and the goal is to have everyone on reserve who wants the shot receiving their first dose by early May at the latest.
“That’s fantastic news,” MacKinnon said, “with the goal of having all second doses completed by the end of June or the end of the second quarter and certainly before summer, and I just think that’s something we can all be very very proud of.”
The pandemic response team says 9.5 per cent of Manitoba’s on-reserve population have already received both doses.
The virus has disproportionately affected First Nations people in Manitoba. Since October, 150 First Nations people have died after contracting COVID-19. The provincial death toll as of Friday was 912.
The team says there are currently 501 active cases on reserve in Manitoba with 22 people sick in hospital and six in the ICU.
More than 9,000 First Nations people in the province have recovered after getting sick with the virus, the team says.
Asked how many people are willing get the injection and whether more education was needed, MacKinnon said officials estimate that up to 75 per cent of the population is ready, which she called “very, very high.”