ONTARIO EXPANDING SPECIALIZED COVID-19 VACCINE SUPPORTS FOR INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES
TORONTO — To help ensure First Nation and urban Indigenous communities have the necessary tools to continue protecting our progress in the fight against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, the Ontario government is investing $30 million in specialized vaccine supports. The funding will support the administration of third and booster doses and the vaccination of Indigenous children aged 5 to 11, in addition to the development of communications programs to address vaccine hesitancy. It will also facilitate ongoing pandemic response measures, such as testing and contact tracing.
“The safety and well-being of Indigenous people and communities across Ontario is of utmost importance,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “By working with First Nation, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous partners, we will ensure Indigenous communities and organizations have the necessary tools and supports they need to maintain public health measures and continue making progress in the fight against COVID-19.”
The $30 million funding includes:
- $10 million in formula-based funding for all 133 First Nations to support the rollout of third doses of the vaccine,
- $10 million for key urban Indigenous healthcare partners to support the continued rollout of the vaccine, including third and booster doses and to address vaccine hesitancy particularly in younger age groups,
- $3 million to further support Operation Remote Immunity which delivers vaccines to remote First Nation communities in northern Ontario which can only be reached by air,
- $7 million in application-based funding to support First Nation communities and urban Indigenous organizations.
“Our government continues to work closely with Indigenous leadership, community members and frontline health care workers to ensure Ontario’s Indigenous communities and residents are protected against COVID-19 and variants. This investment will help protect our progress in the fight against COVID-19 and ensure targeted strategies to make it easier and more convenient for some of our most at-risk to get vaccinated, including first doses for children aged five to 11 and boosters doses.”
– Christine Elliott
Deputy Premier and Minister of Health
“Through Ontario’s vaccine distribution program, we continue to ensure that adequate supply is readily available throughout the province, and that all residents can easily access the dose they need. This investment will help ensure First Nations communities and urban Indigenous organizations have the necessary resources and additional public health supports to keep people safe and healthy.”
– Sylvia Jones
“Keeping our communities and members safe during this pandemic has been a tremendous challenge. The specialized supports this funding will provide will go a long way to ensuring that our members have access to these vaccines and vital information to overcome vaccine hesitancy. We continue to work closely with our provincial partners to ensure that all NAN members have the information they need to make informed decisions. Vaccines save lives, and we are committed to ensuring that everyone across NAN territory can confidently give their consent to receive it.”
– Grand Chief Derek Fox
Nishnawbe Aski Nation