THE Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council on Monday in a statement said: “Within the last month, Canada has approved the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for COVID-19. These vaccines have both gone through rigorous testing and approval processes, only being approved by Health Canada once deemed safe and effective. We encourage anyone over the age of 18, not breastfeeding, and not allergic to any of the ingredients, to take the vaccine when it becomes available in your community.”
It noted that though the Pfizer vaccine was the first COVID-19 vaccine approved by Canada, it requires ultra-cold storage (-70 Celsius). However, the Moderna vaccine (approved after Pfizer) is much easier to transport and store, as it requires temperatures that can be reached with a regular freezer.
The NTC added: “The Moderna vaccine will be brought to rural and remote communities for a community approach to COVID-19 vaccination. We are excited to see rural and remote Indigenous communities being prioritized in the vaccine roll-out but it will take a community approach to ensure the community is safe. That means ensuring you get your vaccine when made available. First Nations Health Authority and Medical Health Officers recommend that Indigenous people receive the vaccine when they are brought into your community.
“For those members living away from home, FNHA, First Nations Health Council and First Nations Health Directors Association will continue to work with regional health authority partners to advance approaches that include away-from-home members.
“Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is a huge step towards some type of normalcy in our daily lives, but we must remind each and every one of you to continue to follow the health orders and recommendations as long as they are in place to mitigate the risk to our valuable members as vaccines do require two doses within weeks of each other to get the full benefits of the vaccine.
“We understand that there are many questions about the Covid-19 vaccine, please read the link provided by FNHA regarding frequently asked questions associated with the COVID-19 vaccine: https://www.fnha.ca/about/news-and-events/news/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-covid-19-vaccine.
“Also, please feel free to talk to our NTC nurses about any questions you have or ask your family doctor.”
NTC President Judith Sayers said: “COVID-19 can be a fatal illness and we have to do everything we can to stop us and our family from suffering through such a virus. Do what you need to do to learn about the vaccine and make your decision about whether to take it. This virus spreads quickly and every person has to do what they can to stop it.”
Vice President Mariah Charleson said: “I understand many First Nations people’s reluctance in trusting the government and the health care system, due to a horrid track record, but taking this vaccine can truly save lives. If you don’t do it for yourself, please do it for those vulnerable around you, particularly our precious elders.”