Infectious Diseases

Algoma Public Health

Indigenous Health and COVID-19

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Algoma Public Health is located within the territories of the Michipicoten, Missanabie Cree, Batchewana, Garden River, Thessalon, Mississauga, Sagamok, and Serpent River First Nations as well as the Huron-Superior Regional Métis Community including the Historic Sault Ste. Marie Métis Council and the North Channel Métis Council.


Algoma Public Health provides services in partnership with First Nations and Métis leaders for Indigenous community members living in urban and rural communities, and acknowledges the importance of Indigenous ways of knowing, doing, and being in Algoma, and across Turtle Island. 


Our collaborative approach to the Algoma COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout is reflective of our shared goal of Reconciliation, and associated principles of transparency, inclusivity, and respect. Through ongoing collaboration, we are working together and sharing resources to ensure the health and safety of all Indigenous community members across Algoma.


We recognize that there is much more work to be done in the Spirit of Reconciliation. Algoma Public Health is committed to the shared goal of Reconciliation. 



On This Page: 



COVID-19 Vaccine and Indigenous Communities: Understanding Prioritization 


The goal of Canada's COVID-19 immunization response is to enable Canadians to get immunized quickly as possible against COVID-19, while ensuring that high risk populations are prioritized. 


Indigenous communities have been identified as high risk by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) because COVID-19 can have disproportionate adverse consequences for Indigenous communities.  


Locally, Algoma Public Health has been working with local indigenous leaders to ensure that indigenous community members are able to access COVID-19 vaccine in a safe, effective, efficient, and culturally safe way. It is important to acknowledge that Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge has been essential to protecting Indigenous communities in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


To ensure continued protection against COVID-19, it is important to continue following public health guidelines in addition to getting fully vaccinated with both doses. and third/booster dose for those who are eligible.


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Booking a First, Second, or Third/Booster  Dose


Indigenous community members have been accessing prioritized first and second doses through the Indigenous Friendship Centre, Baawaating Family Health Team, local First Nation clinics, community immunization clinics and pharmacies.


Third/Booster Doses


First Nations, Métis, and Inuit were eligible to receive their first and second doses early in the vaccination roll out at the mRNA product monograph interval (21-28 days).  This was important because immediate, robust protection provided by the COVID-19 vaccines was one of the best strategies, in addition to public health measures, for reducing risk for COVID-19, especially for communities at increased risk of severe health and social outcomes.  That being recognized, evidence to date suggests that, compared to longer intervals (i.e., 8 weeks), shorter intervals between first and second doses result may result in more rapid waning of protection, including against variants of concern. 


As such, NACI recommends a booster dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine be offered to interested First Nations, Métis, and Inuit adults, including non-Indigenous household members ≥6 months (168 days) after the second dose.


Given the surge in cases in Algoma, it is recommended to get your booster dose when you are eligible.  This booster dose, in addition to your primary series of mRNA vaccine, will help your protection gained from vaccines remain powerful and persistent against COVID-19 and its variants of concern.  

If you are ready to book your first, second, or third/booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine, find a clinic near you and book online or by phone.

New appointment times are added regularly.



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Out of Province or Country COVID-19 Vaccine Reporting


If you got your vaccine out of province or country, you can send Algoma Public Health a request to enter your Covid-19 vaccine into the Ontario data base (COVax). Recording your vaccine will help  with booking a second dose, printing a copy of your vaccine receipt, and having record of your vaccine status.  Here is how you can update your vaccine record:


Option 1) Request can be sent by email to

  • Proof of vaccination is required to verify the vaccine product received outside of Canada or Ontario. You can attach a copy to your e-mail.
  • Please provide your name and contact information. Algoma Public Health will connect to retrieve any additional personal health information required.


Option 2)  Call Algoma Public Health at 705-942-4646 ext. 3297


  • You will be asked to provide your name and contact information.
  • You can drop off or mail a copy of your vaccine record.
  • First or second vaccine

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Proof of Vaccination


Effective September 22, 2021, proof of vaccination is required to access certain businesses and settings in the province of Ontario.


Access to these settings will require (a) proof of a complete vaccination series (complete vaccine series and 14 days since the final dose) and (b) personal identification that displays your full name and birth date.


First Nation Status Cards or Indigenous Membership Card (secure, unsecure, or expired) will be accepted widely and without interference or refusal as a form of identification, provided the name on the card corresponds with the name on the proof of vaccination. Photo identification is not required.


Proof of a complete vaccination series can include a print or digital copy of your last vaccine receipt that shows your final dose (i.e., 2nd dose of an mRNA series) was 14 days prior to accessing the facility.


This can be the receipt provided at your vaccine appointment or a copy downloaded from the Ministry website. Further instructions for accessing a copy of your vaccine receipts is provided on our Vaccine Receipt webpage.


Need help printing a copy of your vaccine receipt?

You can also contact the First Nation organization that administered your vaccine to request another receipt copy.  


No community member will be denied essential service access or medical attention at any institution regardless of their vaccination status.




Variants of Concern (VOCs)


Variants of concerns (VOCs) are new strains of the COVID-19 virus that spread much more quickly and aggressively. A variant of concern impacts the spread of infection, severity of disease, and effectiveness of vaccines. COVID-19 variants of concern have been detected in Algoma. All public health measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission continue to apply to protection yourself and others from COVID-19 variants, and need to be applied very rigorously and comprehensively. Getting vaccinated is one of many steps needed to protect against COVID-19 and its variants.


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Indigenous COVID-19 Resources


In addition to general information on COVID-19, Indigenous people may be interested in culturally relevant resources on promoting well-being throughout this difficult time. Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge has been successful in protecting Indigenous communities in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Information from Indigenous Organizations

(Responding to COVID-19)


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Culture-Based Resources to Support
Well-Being During COVID-19


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Indigenous Language COVID-19 Resources (Printable)


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Resources to Reduce Risks from Smoking and/or Vaping During COVID-19


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