The expanded eligibility applies to vaccinations at supersites and pop-up clinics, which are stocked with Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. Eligibility for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which is available at medical clinics and pharmacies, remains at age 40 and over for all Manitobans and age 30 to 39 for those with certain health conditions.
So far, the age of eligibility for First Nations has been set at 20 years younger than the eligibility of the general population, which is currently 50 and over for supersites and pop-up clinics, and First Nations eligibility did not apply to Métis or Inuit.
“We have consistently found that First Nations people account for 50 to 60% of all COVID-19 admissions to intensive care units,” said Dr. Marcia Anderson, public health manager for the team. coordination of the response to First Nations pandemics.
“We are also seeing consistently higher numbers of First Nations people living off reserve than people living on reserve in hospitalizations and intensive care units and, sadly, more deaths.
As of Friday, there were 114 deaths among First Nations people living off reserve and 55 deaths among people living on reserve. There are also 231 cases linked to more contagious variants of the coronavirus among First Nations people living off reserve, compared to 45 on reserve.
“We have consistently seen serious issues with First Nations people,” Anderson said.
When the vaccine began to roll out, part of the province’s doses were set aside for distribution to First Nations communities.
As of April 29, 52,000 doses of the vaccine had been administered to First Nations people in Manitoba, with 39% of the First Nations population receiving at least one dose, but a much smaller proportion of those who had been vaccinated were living outside the provinces. reservations.
The provincial government’s online dashboard shows that 51% of First Nations people living on reserve received at least one dose, compared to 22% of the First Nations population living off reserve.
Last week, the province began launching immunization clinics targeting urban Indigenous populations, as well as the homeless, in cities across Manitoba.
“At this time, including Métis and Inuit in this eligibility recognizes the response to the impacts of colonization on all Indigenous peoples in Canada,” Anderson said.
“Urban Aboriginal clinics, which are used to operating blind to their status, will be able to provide equitable, high-quality, culturally-based services to First Nations, Métis and Inuit.
The province offers vaccine reservation services in over 100 languages, including First Nations languages.
“This is a significant change and is underway to increase accessibility to the vaccine,” Anderson said.