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Vaccination rate is 6 times higher in Indigenous communities than in general population – CBC.ca

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Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the nationwide push to prioritize First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities for the COVID-19 vaccine is starting to bear fruit, and that vaccination rates in those communities are now significantly higher than those reported elsewhere.

According to the latest data, more than 83,000 doses have been administered so far in more than 400 Indigenous communities.

Twenty-five per cent of adults in these communities have received at least one shot — a rate six times higher than the one for the general population.

Miller said he expects most Indigenous adults to be vaccinated before the rest of the population — a goal, he added, that is rooted in science.

“It’s what we want,” Miller said, adding the territories and B.C. are on track to vaccinate 75 per cent of Indigenous adults by the end of March. The rest of the country isn’t expected to reach that milestone until sometime this summer.

Other provinces, notably Ontario, have also released vaccination schedules that prioritize Indigenous peoples in the next phase of the inoculation campaign, which is expected to being next month as vaccine supplies start to stabilize.

“We continue to see progress that brings us hope,” Miller said, adding that the Indigenous vaccination campaign is being complicated by “huge logistical challenges” in isolated parts of the country. “The end of the tunnel is there but there’s still a whole chunk of tunnel left.”

WATCH: Miller says vaccination rates are higher in Indigenous communities

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the vaccination rate in Indigenous communities is 6 times higher than in the general population. 2:00

There’s an urgent need to vaccinate Indigenous communities quickly because fast-spreading new variants of COVID-19 could be particularly deadly in communities where the housing stock is poor and multi-generational living is common, the minister said.

Miller said the federal government is working with local leaders to create more isolation space to keep positive cases apart.

Dozens of troops arrive on the Shamattawa First Nation in Manitoba on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020 to help local authorities fight a COVID-19 outbreak. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Provincial and territorial governments have been directing doses to northern and remote communities and urban Indigenous populations in an effort to protect a group that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has identified as particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

NACI has said that shots in the early phases of the vaccine rollout should be directed at long-term care home residents and the staff caring for them — but also at Indigenous adults because they face an elevated risk of death and “societal disruption” from COVID-19.

Urban Indigenous population especially vulnerable: NACI

While the initial batch of shots has been largely administered in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, NACI said there should now be a greater push to cover urban Indigenous individuals who may be even more vulnerable. NACI said early data suggest off-reserve First Nations members are more likely to be hospitalized and die than those living on reserves.

Miller has pointed to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that show Native Americans are 3.5 to 5 times more likely to develop severe health complications from COVID-19.

“The science is saying priority needs to be given to Indigenous communities,” he said, noting that many people face substandard living conditions that make them more susceptible to infection.

While Indigenous communities performed well during the first phase of the pandemic, with lower incidents of COVID-19 cases, the second phase has been more challenging.

“Attack rates and mortality rates in First Nations communities are now higher when compared to the overall Canadian population,” NACI wrote in its latest update, published Sunday.

Indigenous individuals are also more likely to have other health troubles that could make a bout of COVID-19 more deadly.

“The proportion of Canadians who identify as Indigenous and have at least one underlying medical condition associated with an increased risk of severe COVID-19 is higher compared to other Canadians for every age category above 20 years of age,” NACI wrote.

Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Miller urged provincial leaders to stay the course with Indigenous vaccination plans, even if political pressure mounts from other constituents to redirect the doses elsewhere.

“The apprehension with who gets what first is fuelled by concerns about volume and timing. You can see scenarios where people say, ‘How come not me?’ and that gets further fuelled by the worst platforms out there — social media tending to be one of them,” Miller said.

Canadians should have an “immense amount of pride” in the fact that vulnerable groups are at the front of the line because it affirms the country’s commitment to equity in health care, Miller said.

Dr. Tom Wong, chief medical officer at Indigenous Services Canada, said it’s too early to tell if the ambitious vaccine campaign has reduced rates of infection.

He said the number of people who have been fully vaccinated with a two-dose regime is still quite low — less than 5 per cent — but he said he expects immunity to build in the coming weeks as the rollout ramps up.

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CPP Investments CEO Mark Machin resigns after travelling to UAE for COVID-19 vaccine – CTV News

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The chief executive of the fund that manages Canada Pension Plan investments has resigned after it was revealed that he decided to travel to the United Arab Emirates, where he arranged to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

CPP Investments said Friday that Mark Machin tendered his resignation after discussions with the board Thursday night.

The resignation comes after Machin on Thursday evening sent a memo to staff, in which he said he received a COVID-19 vaccination while on a “very personal” trip to Dubai.

Machin said in the email viewed by The Canadian Press that he remains in Dubai with his partner “for many reasons, some of which are deeply personal.”

“This was a very personal trip and was undertaken after careful consideration and consultation,” the memo reads.

The federal government is actively discouraging Canadians from travelling abroad and recently implemented stricter quarantine measures for those returning home.

Machin told staff he followed all travel protocols related to his role as head of the pension fund while on the trip.

“This trip was intended to be very private and I am disappointed it has become the focus of public attention and expected criticism,” he wrote.

Several politicians and health-care officials have become high profile flashpoints in recent months for leaving the country despite public health advice to the contrary.

Among them, the former CEO of the London Health Sciences Centre is now embroiled in litigation after his travel to the U.S. prompted the hospital to terminate his contract.

Rod Phillips, Ontario’s former finance minister, resigned from his post in late December after taking a personal trip to St. Barts.

A spokeswoman for Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said that while CPPIB is an independent organization, the revelation is “very troubling.”

“The federal government has been clear with Canadians that now is not the time to travel abroad,” Katherine Cuplinskas said in an emailed statement.

“We were not made aware of this travel and further questions should be directed to the CPPIB on this matter.”

CPP Investments said Friday it has no comment beyond the statement announcing Machin’s departure.

The fund’s board has appointed John Graham as its new CEO. Graham was its global head of credit investments.

CPP Investments, which had $475.7 billion in assets under management as of Dec. 31, invests money on behalf of retired and active employees covered by the Canada Pension Plan.

Machin joined CPP Investments in 2012 and was appointed president and chief executive in June 2016. Before joining the pension fund manager, he spent 20 years at investment bank Goldman Sachs.

“The board wishes to thank Mr. Machin for his global perspective, leadership and commitment to excellence and we offer him our sincere best wishes for the future.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021

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Machin out at CPPIB following trip abroad to get COVID vaccine – BNN

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Mark Machin resigned as head of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board after he went to the United Arab Emirates and received a COVID-19 vaccine, defying guidance from Justin Trudeau’s government to avoid international travel.

“After discussions last evening with the board, Mr. Machin tendered his resignation and it has been accepted,” CPPIB said in a written statement Friday morning. John Graham was named to replace him as chief executive officer.

The office of Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland criticized Machin after the Wall Street Journal revealed the trip Thursday evening. Canada is still struggling to ramp up its own immunization campaign against the virus.

‘Very Troubling’

“While the CPPIB is an independent organization, this is very troubling,” Katherine Cuplinskas, a spokeswoman for Freeland, said by email. “The federal government has been clear with Canadians that now is not the time to travel abroad.”

The finance department was unaware of Machin’s trip, Cuplinskas said, referring further questions to the CPPIB.

Despite securing more doses per capita than any other nation, Canada has administered enough shots to vaccinate just 4.5 per cent of its population one time, compared with 29 per cent in the U.K. and 20.6 per cent in the U.S., according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker. That’s because Canada has to import the vaccines, and shipments have lagged.

Travel Scandals

Recent public opinion has turned against officials who defy the government’s pleas to not leave the country: Rod Phillips, Ontario’s finance minister, was forced to resign on Dec. 31 after it was revealed he took a Caribbean vacation at a time when many businesses in the provinces were ordered to shut their doors to contain the virus.

With vaccine deliveries now accelerating after delays caused in part by export controls in the European Union, Trudeau maintains that every Canadian will be inoculated by the end of September.

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Canada Pension Plan chief resigns after getting vaccinated against COVID-19 in Dubai – CBC.ca

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The chief executive of the fund that manages Canada Pension Plan investments has resigned after it was revealed that he decided to travel to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where he arranged to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

CPP Investments says Mark Machin tendered his resignation to the board Thursday night.

The board has appointed John Graham as the new CEO.

The federal government is actively discouraging Canadians from travelling abroad and recently implemented strict quarantine measures for those returning home.

Several politicians and health-care officials have become high-profile flashpoints of public anger in recent months for leaving the country despite public health advice to the contrary.

Among them, the former CEO of the London Health Sciences Centre is now embroiled in litigation after his travel to the U.S. prompted the hospital to terminate his contract.

Rod Phillips, Ontario’s former finance minister, resigned from his post in late December after taking a personal trip to Saint Barthélemy, a Caribbean island popularly known as St. Barts.

CPP Investments, which had $475.7 billion in assets under management as of Dec. 31, invests money on behalf of retired and active employees covered by the Canada Pension Plan.

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