As 1450 Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are heading to the Far North East, one Chief is pleased that her region is now included in the first allotment of immunizations.

“They have heard us and we’re really grateful that the Moderna vaccine will be arriving in the Far North as soon as possible,” said Lac La Ronge Indian Band Chief Tammy Cook-Searson.

On December 28, the province received 4900 doses of Moderna, stating it would go to the Far North West and Far North Central communities as they had the highest test positivity rates, excluding the Far North East.

Now the province is giving doses to cover the entire Far North.

The province says 48 people in the Far North West and Far North Central regions have been administered the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination Wednesday.

“There’s no reason why the Far North East can’t be part of the first allotment of the 4900 Moderna vaccines. We meet the criteria of we have long term care residents and staff in the Far North East. We have personal care home residents and staff, we have priority health care workers, including those assigned to COVID-19 wards, COVID, a test testing and COVID assessments,” said Cook-Searson.

The province will not be holding back any doses after securing 5300 from the federal government, expected in Saskatchewan Monday.

Those doses, according to Health Minister Paul Merriman will be used to backfill any remaining inoculations in the Far North.

“Why hold back on the second dose, when there’s a steady flow of the vaccines coming in right now,” asked Cook-Searson? “It’s better to get it out there to as many people as you can right away. They also know that it starts to take effect on the first dose.”

Merrmian explained there have been logistical challenges with getting the Moderna vaccines into the Far North.

“There’s a couple of things that we want to identify. We want to see what is the uptake going to be in these northern communities,” stated Merriman. “We want to see how things go up in the north first just because of the geographical logistical challenges that have already identified.”

The vaccinations destined for Far North East communities could not have come at a better time. The Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority has issued two COVID-19 declarations in Stanley Mission and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band Kitsaki Reserve, after the identification of increased cases and evidence of community transmission. Cook-Searson said the First Nation is supporting residents impacted by these outbreaks.