February 1st, 2021
February 1st, 2021
MUSKRAT DAM – MPP Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong) took part in a campaign on Monday to combat vaccine hesitancy in First Nations communities by publicly getting his shot today, at the request of First Nations and public health leaders.
“It is extremely important for our communities, our elders, and our residents to take this vaccine. I want First Nations families to know: I trust in the science. The vaccine is safe. It is used as a shield against the virus. As more of us get vaccinated, the end of this pandemic will be in sight. With the vaccine, we will be protecting ourselves, our languages and our traditions to thrive for future generations,” said Mamakwa.
Mamakwa received requests to take the vaccine on Monday by Chief Gordon Beardy of Muskrat Dam First Nation, as well as public health officials, following very low sign-up numbers in some First Nations communities. Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority expressed their appreciation for Mamakwa’s support of the northern vaccine program, Operation Remote Immunity.
“Your support of Operation Remote Immunity, the first phase of the immunization program against COVID-19 is very much appreciated. Your ability to support the community of Muskrat Dam at the request of its leadership is useful. Creating a climate in which community members choose confidently to accept the vaccine is critical. To be safe, we must aim for the goal of the highest level of vaccine uptake in those eligible. High profile, trusted community members setting an example helps to normalise accepting immunization and reinforces that it is an appropriate response to what continues to be a worrisome situation," said Dr. John Guilfoyle, Public Health Physician, Approaches to Community Well-being, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority.
Neskantaga Chief Christopher Moonias said that First Nations leaders must lead by example and get vaccinated. He said he was encouraged by Mamakwa’s vaccination in Muskrat Dam.
“There’s a lot of misinformation about the vaccine out there, and I worry we’ll have low vaccination rates in our communities because of this. As leaders, it is our role to lead by example, and this is why our Health Director and I will be getting vaccinated first in Neskantaga First Nation. I am encouraged to hear that MPP Sol Mamakwa is also leading by example and getting vaccinated in Muskrat Dam alongside their leadership. Together as leaders, we can ease worries and hopefully encourage more people to protect themselves and our communities by getting vaccinated.”