Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa is encouraging residents across northwestern Ontario to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, in an effort to protect each of our communities.
Mamakwa, who also serves as the NDP’s Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation Critic, says he’s received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the request of First Nations leadership and health leaders, as part of a movement to encourage others to get vaccinated.
“Today I took a step forward in the fight against COVID-19. I got my first shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, and I feel great,” said Mamakwa, in a video message posted to social media.
“I’m filled with hope for the people of Kiiwetinoong. The vaccine is 95 per cent effective. If we all get vaccinated, we will be able to protect ourselves, our communities and our loved ones.”
Ornge Air Ambluance’s Operation Remote Immunity has begun, which will continue to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to remote communities across Northern Ontario and the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, with the help of the Canadian Rangers, if needed and approved by each community.
Staff were in Neskantaga, Slate Falls, Muskrat Dam, Fort Severn, Webequie and Kashechewan this week for community-wide vaccination clinics. In Kashechewan, about 217 doses of the vaccine were administered on the first day of the operation. Over 43 were given in Neskantaga, including one to Chief Christopher Moonias.
“Immunization rates in our communities are very low. But let’s change that trend today. Let’s take a step together to get vaccinated and protect our communities,” Mamakwa noted.
Remote Immunity’s goal is to vaccinate 31 communities in the area over the next three months, and Ornge aims to complete their work by April 30, 2021. Vaccination teams consist of medical professionals from a variety or healthcare partners, and they’ve all received the vaccine.
In his speech to the nation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked Ornge, the Canadian Rangers and the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation for their efforts with Operation Remote Immunity, and encouraged all community members to get a vaccine as soon as possible.
“As more of us get vaccinated, the end of this pandemic will be in sight. Our languages and our traditions will be able to be passed down from elders to future generations. Join me by getting vaccinated, and let’s put an end to this pandemic,” Mamakwa added.
Medical Officer of Health with the Northwestern Health Unit, Dr. Kit Young-Hoon, says 68 per cent of their catchment area’s long-term care home residents have been vaccinated. Over 500 doses have been administered in Sioux Lookout’s Meno Ya Win Health Centre recently.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms is asked to get tested and self-isolate immediately, and to stay in isolation until your test results are known. Only those 18 or above are able to receive a vaccine at this time.