Agreement made to get vaccines to Saskatchewan’s First Nations

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Saskatchewan government and Indigenous Service Canada to coordinate COVID-19 vaccines to on-reserve communities.

The agreement will utilize existing expertise and facilities among ISC, Northern Inter Tribal Authority (NITHA) and First Nations communities to deliver vaccine to residents. The allocation and distribution of the vaccine is a collaborative process between the Saskatchewan Health Authority, ISC, the NITHA and the Ministry of Health.

According to the agreement, the Ministry of Health will provide vaccine directly to ISC on a weekly basis. ISC will receive 14 per cent of the province’s allocation, plus a 20 per cent increase over population numbers, to allow for off-reserve populations who may return their home First Nation to be vaccinated. ISC will work closely with NITHA to determine the allocation and distribution of the vaccines to on-reserve communities.

“We recognize that many First Nations are more at risk and took steps to ensure the first vaccines were made available to communities in our northern and remote regions,” Health Minister Paul Merriman said. “We are very pleased to take this additional measure with this agreement to further protect First Nations residents through this collaborative approach to vaccine delivery.”

“We are engaged in a collaborative process with First Nations leadership to implement the distribution and delivery of COVID-19 vaccine through ISC and NITHA to northern communities, ” said Indigenous Services Canada Minister Marc Miller. “No First Nations individual who is eligible and wants a vaccine can be missed – no matter where they live.”

This agreement will be in effect April 5 with the first vaccine shipments of that week and remains in effect for a year.

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