Indigenous vaccines a priority for Task Force

Press Release

Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald says both on-reserve First Nations and urban Indigenous populations are priorities for the Ontario Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force.

The Ministers’ Task Force was announced on December 4, 2020. The purpose of the Task Force is to, “provide advice on the ethical, timely, and effective administration of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan and related initiatives.”

Soon after her appointment, on December 10, Ontario Regional Chief met with Vaccine Task Force Chair, Retired General Rick Hillier, to discuss First Nations vaccine distribution including the need for planning, communications and logistics for urban Indigenous populations. The following day a meeting was held with Dr. Janet Smylie and Dr. Lisa Richardson to ensure that the Indigenous urban populations needs would be adequately addressed in the vaccine rollout in Ontario.

“The input and recommendations of all Indigenous populations on vaccine distribution are very much respected and included in our decision-making process at the Vaccine Distribution Task Force table,” said Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald.

The recommendations provided to the Task Force are developed by 2 sub-groups: a First Nations specific sub-group and an Urban Indigenous sub-group. Both sub-groups were established by the Ontario government, in order to address each of their unique needs and priorities. Dr. Janet Smylie and Dr. Lisa Richardson have a seat at each sub-group.

Like the rest of Ontario, First Nations and Indigenous elders in long-term care centres and health care workers are prioritized to receive the vaccine. This includes long-term care facilities in urban settings such as Toronto where, on January 12, there were 125 vaccines administered to elders at, Wigwamen, an Indigenous retirement home.

“When it comes to my responsibility on the Task Force, I continue to ensure that all First Nations and Indigenous peoples will receive the vaccine in a timely manner regardless of residency.” said Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald.