The Manitoba Metis Federation says they one hundred Metis people will be vaccinated by the end of the week.
MMF President David Chartrand says they are working to assure Metis people can easily get the COVID-19 vaccines recently provided to them by the province's vaccine rollout in pharmacies and medical clinics.
Unexpectedly, MMF was told their pharmacy will be receiving 100 AstraZeneca vaccines as part of the clinic rollout. MMF says they "jumped into action" as this was the first time they received vaccines, despite months of calling for Metis vaccines.
MMF's MEDOCare Pharmacy initially applied to be part of the vaccination rollout in clinics, receiving confirmation in February they successfully applied and one month later was told by Shared Health they would receive a Public Health Information Management System (PHIMS) account. Two days later on March 19, the account was activated. At this time other pharmacies and medical clinics began receiving 72,600 doses of the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine.
"We did not hear from them again until April 6, when we received a shipment of 100 short-dated doses of Astra Zeneca," a spokesperson with MMF says.
The shipment is being given to Elders and other vulnerable citizens who are eligible.
“We know our Citizens well, and we know what kind of wraparound supports they need in order to access this vaccine — whether it be help with transportation or information about the vaccines themselves, the Métis Government is ready to make it happen. I am looking forward to getting the vaccine myself in the future, after our Elders and vulnerable Citizens have been taken care of," MMF President David Chartrand says in a statement.
He says Long Plains First Nations' Chief Meeches is offering their remaining COVID-19 vaccines to MMF.
MMF says transportation may be an issue and is arranging it for those with an appointment.
“Citizens able to make their own arrangements to attend the appointment will be advised of parking for ease of access to the building. They will be asked to wait in their vehicle until the scheduled appointment time to maximize the benefits of our safety precautions. We’ll also conduct wellness checks for our Citizens after their doses have been administered," MMF's Minister of Health Frances Chartrand says in a statement. "Both Minister Chartrand and I are tremendously proud of our team for making these arrangements so quickly and so thoughtfully.”
Chartrand is preparing for more doses in the future.
“We hope this is just the beginning of the vaccine rollout for our Citizens," he says. "Like any caring and compassionate government faced with a health crisis among its Citizens, we’ve dropped everything else to put all of our energy and focus on getting these doses in the arms of our people. It’s the right thing to do.”