All First Nations, Métis or Inuit 18 years and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine the province announced during Monday’s press conference.
"People who self-identify as First Nations, Métis or Inuit will be able to access the vaccine, without needing to provide any type of proof," said Dr. Marcia Anderson, public health lead for the First Nations Pandemic Response Co-ordination Team.
The list also includes people who are pregnant, are a client of Community Living disABILITY services, work in any health-care setting — including outpatient settings — or work as front-line police officers and firefighters.
All Indigenous people are now able to make appointments at any supersite, pop-up clinic or urban Indigenous vaccine clinic.
The vaccine is open to those who identify as First Nations, Métis or Inuit without being asked to prove they are Indigenous.
"This announcement today will close the gap, by making all Indigenous people eligible," Anderson told reporters.
"We are trying to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to get vaccinated quickly," said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead, Vaccine Immunization Task Force.
The announcement is for sites that offer the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Eligibility for the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is provided at medical clinics and pharmacies, will remain for people aged 40 and over or people aged 30 to 39 with certain medical conditions.
"Given the Métis population of 125,000 in Manitoba, we’ll do what we can to get the vaccination message to our citizens and work to address the questions they’ll have regarding vaccine rollout," Manitoba Metis Federation president David Chartrand said in a statement.
"For example, will we be having pop-up clinics in Métis villages? Will they be able to receive their vaccine through the MMF? Regardless of the challenges with short notice and lack of consultation, we’ll do everything we can to support the Métis people of Manitoba getting vaccinated as soon as possible. It’s what we do for our citizens as a caring and compassionate government."
"We were surprised by this abrupt change and can only hope that it’s not too late for many of our vulnerable people. We still don’t know if we, as the Métis government, are receiving vaccines to distribute. We’re over a year behind, but we do not yet know if the vaccines will be allotted to our government. We’re hopeful that this late intervention will allow us to start playing catch-up," Chartrand said in the release.