In the fight against COVID-19, the Canadian government is committed to assisting First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. The outbreak has had a significant impact on a number of communities in northern Manitoba. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will assist First Nations leaders in vaccinating all adults in up to 23 on-reserve communities.
The CAF’s assistance in Northern Manitoba is part of Operation VECTOR, which is the Canadian military’s support for vaccine distribution to the federal, provincial, and territorial governments. The mission will last until June 30th, 2021.
Last week, a planning team was dispatched to Thompson, Manitoba, to conduct a thorough reconnaissance and assess the need for CAF assistance. CAF members will arrive in Thompson on March 25th to set up a staging hub, and will be ready to start providing medical assistance, vaccine administration, and logistical support, including the establishment of vaccination clinics and assisting with transportation needs, on March 29, 2021. The CAF will meet the unique needs of supported communities, with the goal of reaching 100,000 people in 100 days.
The number of CAF personnel deployed will be determined by the community’s needs. The CAF was previously stationed in 46 First Nations communities across Canada to assist in the management of COVID-19 outbreaks and vaccine distribution. ISC and the CAF will continue to work closely with First Nations to help them achieve this goal and to identify specific communities that require assistance. The initial efforts all resulted in outbreak management and laid the groundwork for vaccination efforts.