The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) expects to vaccinate all First Nations communities by the end of March despite vaccine shortages.
So far, 90 First Nations communities out of 203 in B.C. have received the first dose of vaccines.
“Our biggest challenge has been the amount of vaccine,” FNHA acting chief medical officer Dr. Shannon McDonald said on Feb. 16.
“We have not been able to completely meet the goals that we have set, but we have used every single vaccine.”
FNHA is working with B.C.’s Ministry of Health to meet its goal by the end of next month.
Positive cases primarily linked to gatherings during the Christmas holidays steadily climbed in First Nations communities last month with clusters and outbreaks.
“Sadly, we have suffered many losses during that period of time,” McDonald said.
As of Feb. 12. a total of 426 COVID-19 cases amongst First Nations people in B.C. remain active, with 185 of that on-reserve.
While the number of new cases has been declining, First Nations in B.C. have expressed concerns about the new COVID-19 variants.
Probable variant cases have been identified in two remote First Nations communities in Manitoba but not in B.C. so far, said McDonald.
All told, more than 16,000 Indigenous people have been vaccinated in 90 First Nations communities, with another 3,000 at urban clinics.
“We’re doing everything we can during this pandemic and to get the vaccine into the community as soon as we can,”?Esdilagh First Nation nurse Sam Riczu said in a Feb. 8 Facebook video to her community in B.C.’s northern Interior.
“I was told recently that we are very, very high on the priority by FNHA, but as the global supply runs low at this moment, we are just waiting for the provincial government to let us know when it’s our turn.”
By: Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Source: The Williams Lake Tribune