Distribution of COVID-19 vaccines will now be available to First Nations across Saskatchewan through a joint memorandum between Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), Saskatchewan Ministry of Health and the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA). The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Executive is pleased to see such a development according to a release Thursday.
The vaccination program will provide direct allocation of the COVID-19 vaccines for an effective and culturally supportive vaccine campaign in First Nations communities.
“We welcome the news that the COVID-19 vaccines will be allocated for First Nations, as we have a Treaty Right to Health through the Medicine Chest Clause” FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said in the release.
“We have been advocating for First Nations to receive direct allocations of the COVID-19 vaccine. We will continue to strive for Treaty implementation during this world-wide pandemic, so that all First Nations are protected through the Famine and Pestilence Clause that is affirmed in our Treaties.”
“We’re breathing a sigh of relief with this announcement and welcome the news that all of our community members will have vaccines made available to them” FSIN Vice Chief David Pratt added.
“This vaccine allocation will assist every First Nations member to the COVID-19 vaccine as they become eligible and that includes urban members as well.”
Member First Nations also were pleased with the development.
“First Nations are in the highest risk category for the COVID-19 virus and our vaccinations should be top priority” Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte said.
“This leverages existing First Nations vaccine distribution in Saskatchewan. First Nations will receive 14 percent of the provincial COVID-19 vaccine dose allocations for distribution.”
“We’re happy to hear that our members will have access to the vaccine” MLTC (Meadow Lake Tribal Council) Tribal Chief Richard Ben added.
The FSIN represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. They are committed to honouring the spirit and intent of the Treaties, as well as the promotion, protection and implementation of the Treaty promises that were made more than a century ago.