As COVID-19 vaccines are beginning to be distributed to First Nations in Manitoba, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) pandemic response team is working to dispel myths regarding vaccines.
Dr. Marcia Anderson, one of the Indigenous medical experts who have led the Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Co-ordination Team, said First Nations people need to have information that is relevant to them in the language they use so they can make informed decisions about whether or not to get the vaccine.
On Thursday, she released a video on her social media accounts talking about some of the medical research regarding the Moderna vaccine.
Since the pandemic began, the AMC has produced weekly Facebook live conversations hosted by Grand Chief Arlen Dumas and featuring Indigenous medical professionals from the pandemic response team.
“We really want them to have accurate, valid information because as we continue to move forward in this pandemic, First Nations people are being even more disproportionately impacted, and so uptake of the vaccine is a really critical tool for us to try to mitigate those disproportionate impacts,” said Anderson.
On Friday, the AMC said 50 per cent of all active COVID cases in Manitoba are among First Nations people.
Anderson said people should go to the AMC, Southern Chiefs Organization and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak for reliable information around the vaccine plan.
Addressing the fears
AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas said some of the concerns that First Nations have around medical treatments are legitimate.
“We have to be honest about where the fear comes from,” he said.
“As younger people, in our experience, we have sort of escaped federally sanctioned experiments that were done on our population. These things that were happening to our people… There are people alive today that took part in these experiments. However, it is a different time and a different era.”
As the host of the Facebook lives, Dumas has put the spotlight on Indigenous medical experts to lead conversations and to answer any questions about COVID-19.
“It’s our own experts who are ensuring that the due diligence is done, the proper science is done,” said Dumas, on the research of the vaccines.
“It’s not something that was done on the back of a napkin. We need to make sure that [people] have the proper information and they can see what’s there. We want to make sure that everyone can make those decisions for themselves.”
While the vaccination rollout plans are still in the early stages in Manitoba, Dumas said they are working with the province of Manitoba to make sure First Nations are a part of the decision-making process.
Anderson said front-line health-care workers, elders and people in personal care homes will be prioritized for vaccinations on-reserve and that more information will be coming soon about when communities will get doses of the vaccine.
For people living off-reserve in places like Winnipeg, Anderson said they should visit the Manitoba government’s website to see when they are eligible to receive the vaccine.
Lowest COVID-19 count in PMH since Oct. 5 – The Brandon Sun
At 14 active cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, Prairie Mountain Health recorded its lowest active case total in months.
The region hit the low mark on Saturday, and it was sustained into Sunday after only one new case was reported in the region that day.
The Westman-wide health region last recorded 14 active cases on Oct. 5.
The province announced six COVID-related deaths during the weekend alongside 138 new cases of the virus.
The dead include four women and two men, all in the Winnipeg health region and all in their 80s and 90s.
The 138 new cases is the weekend’s net total, with two having been removed due to data corrections.
New cases include the following health region breakdown:
• 58 in the Northern health region
• 55 in Winnipeg
• 10 in Interlake-Eastern
• 13 in Southern Health Santé Sud
• Four in Prairie Mountain Health
There are now 1,194 active cases of the virus in Manitoba, which is the lowest it has been since mid-October.
The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 3.7 per cent provincially and 2.7 per cent in Winnipeg.
In Manitoba, 31,859 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, 29,770 people have recovered and 895 people have died.
During the weekend, Manitoba chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin again reminded people to:
• Self-isolate immediate at the onset of possible symptoms
• Testing should be done as soon as possible once symptoms appear
• Travel only if essential
• Physically distance and wear a mask when in indoor public spaces
• Socialize only with your two designated people
» The Brandon Sun
Mass COVID-19 vaccinations to begin in Montreal as province ramps up effort – The Record (New Westminster)
MONTREAL — Quebec’s mass vaccination campaign gets underway in earnest in the Montreal area today as the province begins inoculating members of the general public.
The province announced last week that it was booking appointments for seniors age 85 and up across the province, or 80 and above in Montreal.
Quebec began accepting appointments last Thursday, with nearly 100,000 booked on Day One of the campaign.
Some regions started vaccinating members of the general population late last week, but the campaign is expected to speed up considerably with the opening of mass vaccine clinics in the Montreal area, including one at the Olympic Stadium.
Outlying regions are mainly expected to ramp up after the March break holiday, which gets underway today.
Quebec has so far concentrated its vaccination effort on health care workers, people living in remote regions and seniors in closed environments such as long-term care and private seniors residences.
The province has chosen to delay giving second doses in favour of administering a first jab to as many people as possible, but the province’s health minister said last week it will dole out second doses beginning March 15.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault said Saturday that the start of the mass vaccination campaign was giving him “a lot of hope,” even as he expressed concern about spring break week and the spread of new virus variants.
In a Facebook message, he urged Quebecers to remain vigilant for the coming weeks to allow the province to vaccinate more people, and to wait for immunity to fully develop in those who have received a shot.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021.
The Canadian Press
20 additional deaths reported as Ontario surpasses 300K COVID-19 cases – Breakfast Television Toronto
Ontario reported 1,062 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday as the province passed a sobering milestone.
It’s the fifth straight day more than 1,000 new infections were confirmed, bringing the provincial total to 300,816 since the pandemic began.
The seven-day rolling average of new cases sits at 1,104, which is an increase from 1,031 last Sunday.
Toronto reported 259 new cases while Peel Region added 201 new infections to its total. York Region reported just 86 new cases – the fewest number of new cases since moving into the Red-Control zone last week.
An additional 23 variants of concern were also confirmed in the province with 528 cases of the variant first discovered in the UK. There are 27 variant strains of the virus first confirmed in South African and just three of the variant first discovered in Brazil. The total number of new variants of concern increased by 158 over the last seven days.
Another 20 people have died as a result of COVID-19, none involving residents in a long-term care setting, leaving the provincial death just shy of 7,000.
Provincial officials processed 49,185 tests in the last 24 hour period with more than 18,000 samples remaining to be confirmed.
Another 19,167 vaccines were administered on Saturday, bringing the provincial total up to 687,271. Just over 260,000 Ontarians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
While the number of hospitalizations fell to 627, likely due to the lack of full reporting from hospitals on the weekend, the number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU rose to 289 while those on ventilators also increased to 185.
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