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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – First Nations in rural B.C. will receive COVID-19 vaccines this week.

According to the First Nations Health Authority, ten rural and remote First Nations in Northern B.C. will receive vaccine shipments starting December 28.

While the Health Authority hasn’t said publicly which First Nations would receive the first shipments, they said they are remote communities, have 24/7 primary care available, and staff can prepare an immunization program.

Everyone over the age of 18 will be offered an immunization in each community.

Last week’s approval of the Moderna vaccine by Health Canada has allowed the First Nations Health Authority to start their vaccine program. The Moderna vaccine can be stored at -20 degrees Centigrade long-term or two to eight degrees for 30 days. Like the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approved two weeks ago, the Moderna vaccine requires a two-dose schedule, with the second dose administered 21-35 days after the first.

The next phase of vaccine rollout will continue to prioritize rural and remote First Nations communities and communities that have already experienced larger numbers of COVID-19 cases. The First National Health Authority will also work with regional teams and First Nations leaders to offer the vaccine to urban and away-from-home members of First Nations communities.

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