Snuneymuxw First Nation is asking for expedited access to COVID-19 vaccine as the case count in the community has risen to 12 since Dec. 31. (News Bulletin photo)

Snuneymuxw First Nation is asking for expedited access to COVID-19 vaccine as the case count in the community has risen to 12 since Dec. 31. (News Bulletin photo)

First Nation in Nanaimo asking for COVID-19 vaccine ASAP as case count rises

Chief advises community of five more cases, asks for co-operation at security checkpoints

The Snuneymuxw First Nation is hoping for quick access to vaccine as COVID-19 continues to spread in the community.

The First Nation in Nanaimo is reporting more test-positive cases, bringing the case count to 12 since New Year’s Eve. The Snuneymuxw posted on social media Sunday a letter from Chief Mike Wyse, who has been updating members of the First Nation daily via written correspondence and video.

Wyse said the Snuneymuxw have “made a request to the medical health officer for expedited access to vaccinations” and have been told that the request has already been forwarded to the B.C. Minister of Health.

Snuneymuxw chief and council issued a shelter-in-place order on New Year’s Day, effective for two weeks, asking members to remain in their households and try to limit trips off reserve to once a week for essentials.

READ ALSO: Snuneymuxw First Nation orders shelter-in-place due to cluster of COVID-19 cases

Wyse, in his letter Sunday, expressed thanks to health authorities and other officials for recognizing Snuneymuxw’s decision-making authority to “provide a culturally appropriate rapid response” to COVID-19.

“I am proud that we are abiding by the provincial health orders as a nation and in most cases, exceeding those minimum standards,” Wyse said.

Security checkpoints have been set up at reserves and Wyse asked people to respect procedures, reminding members that “restricted access helps to reduce movement and interactions to slow the spread” of the virus.

READ ALSO: Stay informed about COVID-19

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