Ottawa advocating to prioritize vaccines for Indigenous people: Miller

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OTTAWA — Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says Ottawa is working with the provinces to prioritize vaccinating Indigenous people against COVID-19.

Miller says that there is a need to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to Indigenous people living both on reserves and in urban centres.

He says the government is focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care facilities and essential workers but other vulnerable Indigenous groups will get the COVID-19 vaccine next.

In a news release Wednesday, Indigenous Services Canada said there have been 89 COVID-19 cases and nine deaths in long-term care homes in Indigenous communities on reserves.

The number of COVID-19 active cases in First Nations communities reached a new all-time high this week with 5,571 reported cases as of Tuesday.

The department said COVID-19 vaccine rollouts have already started in 169 Indigenous communities in all provinces and territories except Nova Scotia and P.E.I.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press