Most B.C. First Nations communities offered at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine

·1 min read

VANCOUVER — More than half of the residents of First Nations communities in British Columbia have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but most Indigenous people who live outside of those areas are still waiting.

The First Nations Health Authority says over 30,000 vaccinations have been administered in Indigenous communities, representing about 54 per cent of residents of reserves.

Katie Hughes, vice-president of the public health response team, says people in 143 out of 203 communities have been offered at least one dose and immunization clinics are planned in the remaining 60 before the end of March.

Acting chief medical officer Dr. Shannon McDonald says about 100,000 more people identify as Indigenous across the province and the First Nations Health Authority is working with regional partners to help serve those individuals as they become eligible.

This week, Indigenous people over 65 or who identify as elders became able to book their appointments, and Health Minister Adrian Dix has said about 35,000 people in B.C. fit into that category.

McDonald says First Nations leaders feel responsible for their members who live away from home and her health authority has been working to ensure that vaccinations of Indigenous people off reserves are done in a culturally appropriate way.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press