Vaccine rollout to First Nations elder care homes 

Despite the reduced availability of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine due to shipment delays, the delivery and administration of the vaccine to the most vulnerable members of your respective communities remains a priority. The Ontario government has accelerated the vaccination of residents and staff in long-term care, high-risk retirement and First Nations elder care homes with a new target date for completion of February 5, 2021.

To protect access to second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those who have already received their first dose, Ontario will maintain the maximum interval of 21-27 days for long-term care, retirement and First Nations elder care home residents and staff.

The Ministry of Health has provided information to each Public Health Unit (PHU) indicating the number of vaccines that they should expect to receive and the need to prioritize elder congregate care settings. PHUs have been told that vaccine delivery in First Nations communities will be determined by community leadership and that they are to work with the communities to ensure that resources are in place to deliver accordingly.

Operation Remote Immunity

TodayFebruary 1, 2021 — Ornge announced the official start of Operation Remote Immunity, providing access to the Moderna vaccine to residents aged 18 and over in remote fly-in communities. Vaccination teams under the direction of Ornge will travel over the next three months to 31 northern, fly-in NAN communities and Moosonee to deliver and administer the vaccine to residents wishing to receive it.

The plan was co-developed in partnership with Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN). This week, teams will be visiting Neskantaga, Slate Falls, Muskrat Dam, Fort Severn, Kashechewan and Webequie. Operation Remote Immunity aims to complete its work by April 30, 2021.

It is critical that we continue to communicate to everyone that they should follow public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep communities safe.

Moderna Vaccine Supplies 

On January 29th, we learned from the federal government that Ontario’s allocation of Moderna vaccines for the week of February 1 will be decreased by 18,200 doses. This reduction will be offset by a contingency amount of vaccine the province has established to address emergent issues such as this, mitigating the resulting impact to sites and vaccine administration.

This is disappointing news and we are once again determining the impact further reductions will have on Ontario’s vaccination rollout. Updates and messaging will be shared when they become available.

Addressing Vaccine Questions and Vaccine Hesitancy 

Last week we shared a vaccine fact sheet to help address vaccine hesitancy and increase vaccination uptake. This fact sheet is now available in Algonquin and Inuktitut along with the English, French, Swampy Cree, Ojibway and Oji-Cree versions shared earlier.

A more robust Fact Sheet has now also been developed to answer vaccine questions. Translated versions will follow.

Public Health Ontario Resources

Public Health Ontario has created resources to explain various aspects of COVID-19 to the public. These Fact Sheets are available in over 20 languages, including Eastern Ojibwe, Mohawk, Oji-Cree and Swampy Cree.