Government of Canada COVID-19 Update for Indigenous Peoples and communities 

News release

January 8, 2021 — Ottawa, Traditional unceded Algonquin Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) continues to closely monitor the number of COVID-19 cases reported in First Nations communities across the country. There was a reduction in the number of newly reported cases of COVID-19 in First Nations communities with 918 new cases reported during the week of December 27-January 2, down from 1,225 and 1,229 new weekly cases reported three and four weeks prior to that.

On First Nations reserves, as of January 7, ISC is aware of:

  • 9968 confirmed positive COVID-19
  • 3288 active cases
  • 6585 recovered cases
  • 95 deaths

There are a total of 33 confirmed positive cases in Nunavik, Quebec and all but two have recovered. As of January 6, the Government of Nunavut is reporting no active cases and a total of 266 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the begging of the pandemic. Of the 266 reported cases, 265 people have recovered from the virus.

While the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines is a necessary step in the fight against COVID-19, it only represents one of many tools we have in order to effectively eliminate the threat of the virus. As such, we urge everyone to follow the community and provincial public health measures that have proven to save lives. Everyone can help limit the spread by making wise decisions and following recommended public health measures.

The logistics of a COVID-19 vaccine roll-out require coordination amongst partners and provinces and territories; an efficient and effective roll-out requires co-planning and is dependent on full collaboration. ISC is working with all provinces and territories to encourage full inclusion of Indigenous perspectives to ensure an integrated and coordinated approach to support the administration and planning process of the COVID-19 vaccine for Indigenous peoples.

ISC is actively participating in planning tables across the country led by provinces and territories and including Indigenous partners. ISC is also hosting a COVID-19 Vaccine Planning Working Group with national and regional First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners, provinces and territories, Indigenous health professionals and other federal departments.

The two Health Canada-approved vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) have started to roll out across the country, and are expected to be available to all those in Canada who are recommended to receive it by Fall 2021. Doses of the vaccines began rolling out in December, and will continue to be distributed throughout the next few weeks and months. As of January 7, 2021, 548,950 vaccines have been distributed across the country, including 20,400 to the territories. Vaccines are making their way to Indigenous communities in other parts of the country. For example, in Quebec, several communities have received doses of the Moderna vaccine, including the Atikamekw communities of Opitciwan and Wemotaci, the Cree community of Mistissini, and the Mohawk community of Kahnawake.  In British Columbia, where the First Nations Health Authority is responsible for the delivery of health services to First Nations, the Moderna vaccine is being administered to 19 First Nation communities. The primary focus of these vaccinations remains on rural and remote communities as well as those communities with outbreaks and high case numbers. Vaccination efforts for Indigenous Peoples have also started in other provinces and territories, including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, Yukon, the Northwest  Territories, and Nunavut. Several other provinces are expected to begin in the coming days and weeks.

The collective efforts and coordination from all levels of government, regional Indigenous organizations, stakeholders, community groups, and countless others have enabled the sharing of credible and consistent communications messaging, posters, visuals and content in communities across the country. This is helping to provide clear guidance and accurate information on vaccine administration.

The Government of Canada recognizes and thanks the frontline workers who put their own safety on the line every day to make sure families, youth, and especially Elders, are kept safe.  Their dedication and hard work has reduced the number of people who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Those who have received their vaccines already are also playing an important role in eventually reducing the spread of infection.

Associated links

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Adrienne Vaupshas
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services
adrienne.vaupshas@canada.ca

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada
SAC.media.ISC@canada.ca

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