Here's how COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out in James Bay communities

·2 min read

Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) is moving along with its COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plan.

First Nation communities along the James Bay and Hudson Bay coast are receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

According to a WAHA notice, the plan in the region is divided into three phases.

Receiving the vaccine is voluntary. Those who can get vaccinated include adults over 18 years old; residents, staff and essential caregivers including family caregivers and other employees in congregate living settings for seniors, and healthcare workers including hospital employees, staff who work or study in hospitals and healthcare personnel.

Tomorrow, Jan. 20, 50 people who meet the eligibility criteria will receive the vaccine at clinics in Fort Albany and Attawapiskat.

Jan. 20-22, people meeting the criteria as well as elders and vulnerable patients in congregate living settings will be vaccinated in Moosonee.

Phase three of the roll-out plan will begin next Tuesday, Jan. 26, with mass immunization vaccination clinics set up in all communities.

Mass vaccination clinics are tentatively scheduled for Peawanuck on Jan. 26, Kashechewan on Feb. 1, Attawapiskat on Feb. 8, Fort Albany on Feb. 15, Moosonee on March 1 and Moose Factory on March 1.

Clinics will be held over multiple days. According to WAHA, the goal is to have the first dose phase of the mass clinics completed in the region by March 12.

Phase two will take place over next several weeks and will allow the rest of the community members in the James Bay and Hudson Bay region to get vaccinated. WAHA will be working with a team, assembled by the province, using ORNGE paramedics to visit each community. WAHA or local public healthcare providers will deliver the program after the team visits.

No dates are yet available for the phase two plan.

The first phase of the plan started on Jan. 6 when the first COVID-19 vaccines were delivered by ORNGE to Moosonee.

Phase one priority groups included elders living in congregate setting in Moose Factory, Attawapiskat and Fort Albany; healthcare providers in patient care areas and elders in Complex Continuing Care and Alternate Level of Care (CCC/ALC) beds.

Moose Cree elder Gertrude Johnstone was the first one to receive the vaccine at the Weeneebayko General Hospital (WGH) in Moose Factory.

Since Jan. 8, a total of 81 people in the phase one group have been vaccinated in Moose Factory, according to WAHA.

The vaccination clinics then moved to Attawapiskat, where three elderly inpatients and seven staff at the Attawapiskat Hospital were vaccinated, and to Fort Albany, where five elders and five staff received the vaccine.

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,