Moose Cree First Nation member Gertrude Johnstone was the first elder to receive the Moderna vaccine today.
Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) has started its phase one of the vaccine rollout.
On Thursday, Jan. 7, ORNGE air ambulances delivered the first doses of the Moderna Vaccine to the James Bay coast. Vaccinations started Friday, Jan. 8, at the Weeneebayko General Hospital in Moose Factory.
Johnstone is a retired healthcare provider from WAHA Moose Factory General Hospital.
“As a consummate advocate, she sought to ensure that our elders of the community were taken care of first, and that they would have the opportunity to receive the vaccine as soon as it became available,” reads WAHA’s statement. “She is a brave woman in this historic moment.”
Among those who received the vaccine today were also WAHA’s president and CEO Lynne Innes and chief of staff at Weeneebayko General Hospital (WGH) Elaine Innes.
The vaccine rollout is split into two phases.
WAHA’s spokesperson Yolaine Kirlew declined to comment how many doses WAHA received but she said all of the received doses will be used on phase one recipients.
Phase one priority groups include elders living in congregate setting in Moose Factory, Attawapiskat and Fort Albany; healthcare providers in patient care areas and elders in Complex Continuing Care and Alternate Level of Care (CCC/ALC) beds.
As the Moderna vaccine requires people to receive two doses 28 days apart, the second dose of the vaccine will be provided a month later.
“Once phase one participants have been vaccinated, we anticipate the arrival of more doses to commence our phase two plans,” Yolaine said in a statement. “In phase two the vaccination is focused on each community in the region. A team will be assembled by the province, utilizing ORNGE paramedics to visit each community and then WAHA/local public health care providers will deliver the program after the team visits.”