Nisga’a Valley Health prepares to roll out COVID-19 vaccines

·2 min read

Nisga’a Nation COVID-19 vaccinations are expected to begin soon according to the Nisga’a Valley Health Authority’s Vaccine Roll Out Plan, released on Jan. 13.

According to the plan, the Nisga’a Valley Health Authority (NVHA) is set to receive 60 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 18, to be distributed to those over 65 years of age. There are no shipments of the Moderna vaccine listed in the plan, and the date could change.

Other priority groups for the vaccine in the plan are NVHA direct care staff and vulnerable populations, with the wider community to follow as supply is made available.

Elders are asked to make sure NVHA has current contact information because NVHA staff will be contacting people by phone to book appointments for doses. On the day of vaccination, there will be screening and a temperature check followed by immunization, according to the plan.

After doses are given, NVHA will monitor recipients for 15 minutes afterwards in case of adverse reactions like anaphlaxis. The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) vaccine webpage states that thousands of people have already taken the vaccine in clinical trials, and any side effects are being monitored as vaccines are rolled out.

“You may have heard stories about people having a reaction or adverse event after getting a vaccine. While sometimes these things can happen after vaccination, it is rarely because of the vaccine,” the website states.

“Getting vaccinated is important. Given the serious health consequences of COVID-19, the low likelihood of a serious reaction to a vaccine is outweighed by the benefits to you and your loved ones.”

Health Canada has not identified any major safety concerns with either type of vaccine, and ingredient lists can be viewed on the Health Canada website.

On Jan. 12, the Nisga’a Lisims Government declared a state of local emergency. From Dec. 28, 2020 to Jan 12. 2021, there have been 68 positive COVID-19 tests in the Nass Valley, out of 202 total tests. Thirty-nine cases have recovered, and 28 are considered active.

Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News