Canada COVID-19 update for Indigenous Peoples and communities, week of June 28

From: Indigenous Services Canada

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is committed to supporting Indigenous communities in their response to COVID-19 and continues to work closely with Indigenous organizations and provincial and territorial governments. As of June 28, 2021, Canada and partners reported an incredible accomplishment in its vaccination efforts, with more than 44,911,854 COVID-19 vaccine doses being distributed across the country. As of June 29, 2021, in First Nations communities with available information, over 85% of individuals aged 18 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and over 53% have received two doses.

Indigenous Peoples aged 12 and older are currently eligible to register for their first vaccine dose. As of June 29, 2021, over 79% of individuals aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in First Nations, Inuit and territorial communities. Of this group, over 52% have received their second dose. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), 75% of individuals aged 12 and older have received one dose.

We thank all those who have received their first dose of the vaccine. We remind all Canadians to be sure to book an appointment for your second dose to increase the effectiveness of reducing severe disease outcomes such as hospitalization and death. Being fully vaccinated, together with following all public health measures, are needed to protect each other and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

As of June 29, 2021, the following COVID-19 data have been confirmed:

  • 32,022 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases
  • 491 active cases
  • 31,171 recovered cases
  • 360 deaths.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) continues to assist Indigenous communities across the country. As part of Operation VECTOR, which is the CAF’s support to the federal, provincial and territorial governments in distributing COVID-19 vaccines, Canadian Rangers and additional CAF personnel are extending their assistance to provincial vaccination authorities. They are completing logistics and general duty tasks in various communities of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation in Northern Ontario to continue supporting the Government of Ontario and Ornge partners with the delivery of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to community members aged 12 to 17.

Ornge’s Operation Remote Immunity 2.0 launched on May 31, 2021, and aims to vaccinate approximately 6,000 youth aged 12 to 17 in 31 Ontario fly-in First Nations communities and Moosonee. This week, the CAF’s Ornge-supported vaccine clinics are being held in Fort Severn, Nibinamik, Eabametoong, Martin Falls and Deer Lake.

As part of Operation LASER, which is the CAF’s response to a global pandemic situation, Canadian Rangers are currently activated in Attawapiskat First Nation, Fort Albany First Nation and Kashechewan First Nation in Ontario to provide assistance with COVID-19 response efforts in these communities.

Canadian Rangers are also activated in many communities across the country as Sentinels to help identify emerging demands.

ISC continues to work with Kashechewan First Nation and health partners to coordinate and deliver critical supports in response to the community’s COVID-19 outbreak.

Misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines continues to accelerate on social media, including the fear that immunization could affect fertility, despite no evidence to support these false claims. The Government of Canada encourages individuals who may have concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines’ effects on pregnancy and fertility to consult with a trusted health care expert, who can explain how the vaccines work and how there is no link between the vaccine and infertility.

Summer is often a time for gathering with friends and family; however, we must all remain diligent in following public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Remember to wash your hands, wear a well-fitted mask, physically distance, stay home when sick and get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

Beginning July 5, 2021, fully vaccinated travellers who are eligible to enter Canada (Canadian citizens, permanent residents, persons registered under the Indian Act and foreign nationals exempted under an emergency order) will not be required to quarantine or complete a test on day 8. In addition, fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air will not be required to stay at a government-authorized hotel to await their on-arrival test result.

To be considered fully vaccinated, travellers must have received the full series of a COVID-19 vaccine-or a combination of vaccines-approved by the Government of Canada, at least 14 days prior to entering Canada. Furthermore, to be eligible for these exemptions, fully vaccinated travellers must still meet the pre-entry and on-arrival testing requirements, be asymptomatic, submit all required COVID-19 information electronically to ArriveCAN prior to travelling to Canada, have a paper or digital copy of their proof of vaccination, and have a suitable quarantine plan.

The Government of Canada is engaging with provinces, territories and Indigenous bodies on this important initiative of implementing the use of proof of vaccination credentials to facilitate international travel by Canadians. Effective July 5, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. EDT, all travellers will be required to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination information in ArriveCAN, including whether they received a COVID-19 vaccine, the brand name or any other information that identifies the vaccine that was administered, the dates on which the vaccine was administered, and the number of doses received.

PHAC and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada have held meetings with national Indigenous organizations and working groups and will be reaching out directly to regional Indigenous organizations and Indigenous border communities to share information and seek input on proof of vaccination deployment for international travel purposes.

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