The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada sits ready for use at The Michener Institute in Toronto on December 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada sits ready for use at The Michener Institute in Toronto on December 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)

Lake Babine Nation receives Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccinations continue for elders 65+

Update: Immunizations against COVID-19 are continuing at the Lake Babine Nation (LBN) west of Prince George as positive cases reach 47.

The second in-community immunization clinic was held Friday, Jan. 15 in Tachet for members 65 and over.

LBN Chief Gordon Alec was the first of 30 LBN members to receive the Pfizer vaccine in Wyoenne on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

Read More: ‘It’s not a hoax’: Terrace hospital busier than ever with COVID-19 cases

“Bringing the vaccine right into the villages has been a vital part of our response,” Alec said two-days later in a news release Jan. 15.

“The nurses and support staff know our people, and this makes a huge difference in what can be a very stressful situation. I commend the nurses and our whole health team for organizing this quickly.”

A third in-community clinic is scheduled to occur at a later date for the approximately 70 residents of Fort Babine.

Original: Elders of the third-largest Indigenous band in B.C. will be eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine before the end of the month.

Lake Babine Nation (LBN) Chief Gordon Alec confirmed the rollout to membership in a Facebook video Friday, Jan. 8.

“The vaccine will be available to elders [65 and older] if they are willing to take it, but we encourage the elders to do so as this opportunity will not be available due to limited supply,” he said.

Read More: All COVID-19 cases associated with Coastal GasLink outbreak deemed recovered

LBN registered nurse Chery Tress said it is the B.C. Ministry of Health that determines how the vaccine is rolled out across the province.

“It’s estimated that about 70 per cent of the population needs to get the vaccine for us to go back to our normal lives,” she said.

As of Jan. 6, more than 30 on-reserve members of LDN’s largest community, Woyenne have recovered after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

While Alec praised members for a “job well done” over the holidays, he reminded those partying to stop.

“At least calm down until this pandemic is over,” he said, urging members to think of the consequences their actions could have on those around them.

Alec said the vaccine would not be available to the general public ages 18 to 64 until sometime in March, if not sooner.

Read More: Burns Lake becomes a COVID-19 hotspot with 21 cases from Dec. 27 to Jan. 2

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