A delivery of vaccine was anticipated in Anahim Lake, 300 kilometres west of Williams Lake, on Tuesday, Dec. 29.
Ulkatcho First Nation members and surrounding non-Indigenous residents of Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake will be among the first in B.C. to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine this week.
Prior to the start of inoculation, available for residents 18 years and older, First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) representatives will be holding a meeting outside the Ulkatcho First Nation Community Hall Tuesday morning to help individuals make an informed decision on the benefits and risks associated with the vaccine.
The first of two doses will be offered to Indigenous elders first, followed by the remainder of Ulkatcho residents. A second dose is required 28 days later.
Anahim Lake is one of 10 rural and remote Indigenous communities with limited access to health care services across the province receiving the Moderna vaccine this week. While there is a nursing station at Anahim Lake, the nearest hospital for residents needing further medical attention is in Williams Lake.
The Moderna vaccine is one of two approved by Health Canada in the fight against COVID-19. Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Moderna’s version does not require ultra-cold storage and can be more easily transported into rural and remote communities.
“B.C. First Nations are getting COVID-19 in higher number than other populations,” FNHA said in an information bulletin.
FNHA said the next phase of the vaccine rollout will continue to prioritize such communities, and those that have already experienced larger numbers of virus cases.