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Government of Canada COVID-19 update for Indigenous Peoples and communities, week of July 26

Government of Canada COVID-19 update for Indigenous Peoples and communities, week of July 26

Canada NewsWire

OTTAWA, TRADITIONAL UNCEDED ALGONQUIN TERRITORY, ON, July 28, 2021 /CNW/ - Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is committed to supporting Indigenous communities in their response to COVID-19 and continues to work closely with Indigenous organizations and provincial and territorial governments.

This week, the Government of Canada received its 66th millionth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This marks an incredible accomplishment in vaccination efforts, as there are now sufficient vaccines to fully vaccinate all eligible people in Canada. As of July 26, more than 58 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been distributed across the country. As of July 27, 2021, in First Nations communities, over 83% of individuals aged 18 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and over 63% have received two doses.

As of July 27, 2021, over 85% of individuals aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in First Nations, Inuit and territorial communities. Of this group, over 62% have received their second dose. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, over 79% of individuals aged 12 and older have received one dose, with 50% having received two doses as of July 27, 2021.

Last week, the Honourable Minister Miller visited seven First Nations communities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to acknowledge health care staff for their unwavering commitment throughout the pandemic. Regions and communities across the country have stepped up to promote and administer COVID-19 vaccinations to Indigenous Peoples.

We thank all those who have received their first dose of the vaccine and remind all Canadians to be sure to book your appointment for your second dose to protect against severe disease outcomes, such as hospitalization and death, especially in the context of the Delta variant. While we are still experiencing some outbreaks affecting primarily unimmunized or partially immunized individuals, we have seen a continuing drop in active case counts of more than 90% over the past six months. For example, Hatchet Lake First Nation in northern Saskatchewan has a Delta variant outbreak that is waning thanks to the redoubling of immunization efforts. In Ontario, there are no active COVID-19 cases in Kashechewan First Nation, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the community's leadership and other federal, provincial, health and non-governmental organization partners.

This week, Minister Miller visited nurses and health staff at Kenora Chiefs Advisory to thank them for their support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine roll-out. Their hard work and dedication have helped keep Indigenous Peoples and communities safe and build confidence in the vaccines.

In addition, the Gamma variant COVID-19 outbreak in Yukon is beginning to slow, and the current risk to Yukon residents remains low. Transmission of COVID-19 remains through community spread. The active case count has now dropped below 100, and new cases per day continue to be fewer than 10. Effective August 4, 2021, the Government of Yukon will no longer require people to self-isolate upon entry to the territory, wear masks in indoor public spaces, or practice physical distancing at bars and restaurants, allowing these establishments to return to full capacity as it was before the pandemic.

Nunavut is continuing its Pfizer vaccination campaign aimed at Nunavut youth, with mini mass clinics already underway in all communities administering first and second doses. The Moderna vaccine is also available in all 25 communities for those who would like to be vaccinated. Over 80% of eligible adults aged 18 and older have received a first dose, and over 70% have received a second dose. Over 58% of youth aged 12 to 17 have received a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and over 34% are fully vaccinated.

Mass walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics have been held in Iqaluit. Inuit health care workers were flown in from across the country and were available to provide information and dispel myths about the vaccine in Inuktitut. They were open to anyone aged 12 and older and included door prizes, as well as vouchers for Nunavummiut. This was a collaboration between Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, Qikiqtani Inuit Association, the Government of Nunavut and the City of Iqaluit and was based on the success seen with the Nunatsiavut mass vaccine clinics in Labrador that had Inuktitut-speaking health care workers.

Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated has created a new Clinicial Manager position in their organization, staffed by an Inuktitut-speaking registered nurse whose role is to encourage and provide teaching and reassurance to Nunavummiut about vaccinations and provide support to Inuit nurses across the territory.

ISC continues to support the Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated in ensuring they have the resources required to administer the COVID-19 vaccines and in their efforts to promote the safety and importance of vaccination among Nunavummiut. 

As provinces and territories continue to ease restrictive public health measures, this easing will be dependent on the current risk level in and around their communities, including COVID-19 rates, the presence of variants of concern, vaccination coverage in each jurisdiction, public health and health care capacity, and community vulnerabilities. Members of the public need to continue to follow their community's recommendations on the use of personal preventive measures, such as wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing and receiving both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine currently available in Canada.

As of July 26, 2021, the following COVID-19 data have been confirmed:

  • 34,421 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases
  • 411 active cases
  • 33,617 recovered cases
  • 393 deaths.

Under the Government of Canada's Vaccine Community Innovation Challenge, more than 100 community-driven projects are being launched to promote vaccine confidence and reinforce public health measures, including 25 projects by Indigenous communities. These initiatives will take place across the country, in various Indigenous languages. Trusted community leaders and messengers will provide information on COVID-19 vaccination that is culturally appropriate, targeted and informed.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is a critical part of Canada's whole-of-government response to the pandemic. The CAF is pleased to continue working in close collaboration with provincial, territorial and Indigenous leadership partners to provide emergency support to all community members affected by the recent COVID-19 outbreaks.

As of July 2021, the CAF has assisted more than 100 Indigenous communities across Canada since the beginning of the pandemic. The CAF remain ready to respond wherever and whenever the government needs them to help protect Canadians.

As part of Operation VECTOR, which is the CAF's support to the federal, provincial and territorial governments in distributing COVID-19 vaccines, the CAF just concluded its support to Ornge's Operation Remote Immunity 2.0. This operation aimed to vaccinate approximately 6,000 youth aged 12 to 17 in 31 Ontario fly-in First Nations communities and Moosonee.

As part of Operation LASER, which is the CAF's response to a global pandemic situation, Canadian Rangers are providing assistance with COVID-19 response efforts in Attawapiskat First Nation in Ontario and Hatchet Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan. This can include delivering critical supplies to vulnerable community members; providing additional health care personnel, isolation space and funding; and supporting case and contact management. The Rangers just concluded their support to Kashechewan First Nation in Ontario.

Canadian Rangers are also activated in many communities across the country as Sentinels to help identify emerging demands.

Associated links

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Facebook: @GCIndigenous 

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Facebook: @GCIndigenousHealth 

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SOURCE Indigenous Services Canada

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