Operation Remote Immunity 3.0 wraps up after coordinating nearly 200 vaccine clinics in 29 remote and isolated communities
February 22, 2022 — Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory,Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada
Operation Remote Immunity 3.0 has ended after coordinating nearly 200 vaccine clinics in 29 remote and isolated Indigenous communities served by the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) and the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA). Indigenous Services Canada partnered with SLFNHA and WAHA to provide first, second and third (booster) doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including pediatric doses. Flu clinics were also available at select sites.
The final clinic in a WAHA community took place on Friday, February 11, 2022, and the final clinic in a SLFNHA community took place on Friday, February 21, 2022. Since November 2021, approximately 9,700 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in remote communities under Operation Remote Immunity 3.0.
With the operation winding down, teams will now focus on surge capacity, which has been in place since early 2020. This will give teams the flexibility to offer support that complements other resources in each First Nation as needed and upon request by community leadership. This includes assistance for community-led immunization clinics, testing, and case and contact management. Indigenous Services Canada thanks its partners for their continued collaboration in support of Ontario First Nations.
Recognizing the significant and immediate challenges facing Northern Ontario and the importance of supporting vulnerable remote fly-in communities, the Canadian Armed Forces provided Canadian Rangers with support for Operation Remote Immunity 3.0. This included general logistical support, such as transportation of personnel, community members and materials; and local coordination, including translation, integration of mobile vaccination teams and distribution of information and educational materials. Administrative support was also provided by the Canadian Rangers, such as conducting COVID-19 pre-screening questionnaires and other general support for planning and operations. The collaboration between partners also included Nishnawbe Aski Nation, the northern Public Health Units and Ornge.
The Operation Remote Immunity 3.0 team is proud of the excellent and collaborative work conducted by all members throughout the operation.
"I am grateful to see that Operation Remote Immunity 3.0 was successful in achieving its objectives, but also in doing so with such strong collaboration with partners to make it happen. In all, almost 200 vaccine clinics were coordinated, supporting 29 remote and isolated First Nations communities in Northern Ontario, administering approximately 9,700 doses. Vaccines continue to be one of our strongest tools in our fight against COVID-19 to keep ourselves and those around us safe and healthy. Thank you to everyone involved in this operation and to everyone who got their shots."
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
"Remote communities in Northern Ontario have faced unique challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that required close collaboration and targeted support. The work of all partners throughout Operation Remote Immunity 3.0 is yet another example of the success that can be achieved when all levels of government work together, and I would like to thank everyone involved in this successful operation."
The Honourable Bill Blair
President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
"Since the beginning of this pandemic, our Canadian Armed Forces—including and especially the Canadian Rangers—have been there to support Canadians at every step of the way. I am deeply grateful for the hard work and professionalism of our members throughout Operation Remote Immunity 3.0, which was instrumental in vaccinating members of 29 remote and isolated Indigenous communities. To everyone involved in this effort, thank you sincerely for your dedication and leadership."
The Honourable Anita Anand
Minister of National Defence
"We are very proud of the success of ORI3 and all phases of Operation Remote Immunity to protect our communities throughout this pandemic. Meegwetch to all our partners including the federal and provincial governments, regional health authorities, Ornge and the Canadian Rangers for their collaborative work with community leadership and local pandemic teams. Vaccination is our best defence against COVID-19, and I am encouraged by the number of NAN members, especially our young citizens, who are protecting others by protecting themselves."
Grand Chief Derek Fox
Nishnawbe Aski Nation
"It is a privilege to have the opportunity to collaborate with partners from across regions, and indeed the province, to provide safe and timely access to COVID-19 vaccines in the James and Hudson Bay region, in keeping with WAHA's mission to provide optimum care as close to home as possible. Vaccination against communicable diseases, not only COVID-19, is a critical means of improving the lifelong well-being of peoples living in our remote communities. Our vaccination teams, in partnership with our indispensable community supports, were able to help administer nearly 2700 doses COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 12 and over. Braving blizzards with smiles, embracing changes to guidance or logistics cheerfully, and maintaining a zeal and enthusiasm for high-quality care—we are grateful for each and every person who contributed in ways big and small to the success of Operation Remote Immunity Phase Three."
Meagan Vander Ploeg
Weeneebayko Area Health Authority Pandemic Task Force Coordinator
"Since January 2021, SLFNHA has emphasized the importance of choosing to take the vaccine to protect individuals, families and communities in our region. We are honoured to be part of the ORI initiatives and to work so closely with ISC, Tribal Councils and communities to support this goal. Our region, historically, has low vaccine coverage rates and we are pleased to see the significant uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines in our communities. This demonstrates what can happen when partners and communities come together to provide effective health communication and reduce barriers to vaccine access. ORI demonstrated that dedicated resources and staffing at the community level to support clinic coordination and health promotion was essential for its success and must be continued to prevent the spread of other infectious diseases in the region. We would like to thank ISC for collaborating closely with us on ORI 3.0 and the communities for their hard work and exemplary leadership throughout our vaccine journey. We need to continue working together in a good way as the pandemic is not over. We need a similar approach for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine for individuals less than five years of age."
Dr. Lloyd Douglas
Public Health Physician, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority
Over the course of Operation Remote Immunity 3.0, approximately 9,700 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered in clinics in 29 communities in the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority and the Weeneebayko Area Health.
Canadian Armed Forces-related support to the three iterations of Operation Remote Immunity consists of approximately 270 Canadian Rangers engaged in a wide range of logistics, coordination and administrative support roles.
In Canada, emergencies are managed first at the municipal level, and if they need assistance, they request it from their province or territory. If the emergency escalates further, provinces or territories can get help from the federal government.
A Request for Federal Assistance is initiated when an emergency event overwhelms or threatens to overwhelm the resources of a province or territory and federal government help is needed to effectively support the impacted region.
Should a province or territory make an official Request for Federal Assistance, there is a well-established process to manage the request through the Government Operations Centre, which includes provincial/territorial and interdepartmental consultation and coordination.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
Indigenous Services Canada
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