The Moderna vaccine has arrive in northwestern Ontario, specifically Sioux Lookout.

According to the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre, the vaccine will be administered to residents and staff members of the William A. George Extended Care Facility.

“This is an important milestone in the fight against COVID-19 as the administration of vaccines begins in Sioux Lookout. Our government continues to ensure that the vaccine rollout reaches every corner of our province to protect frontline workers, long-term care residents and remote Indigenous communities as quickly as possible,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines.

“We continue to work closely with Nishnawbe Aski Nation and other Indigenous partners to ensure an efficient and culturally appropriate vaccine rollout to First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.”

The Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre is the first hospital in the Northwestern Health Unit catchment area to receive any vaccine for COVID-19.

“We are grateful to be the first rural and northern community hospital to receive the Moderna vaccine,” said Heather Lee, President and CEO of SLMHC.

“Like so many health care organizations, our health care team has worked tirelessly since the beginning of the pandemic to maintain and exceed practices that reduce the spread of COVID-19 in anticipation of this moment."

At this moment, it's unclear how many doses of the vaccine will be administered but hospital administrator said in a press release, "chronic care patients and all hospital (Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre) staff will receive the vaccine in the days ahead, in addition to administering vaccines to residents and staff of the William A. George Extended Care Facility.

“We are very pleased to have our staff and residents prioritized to receive the vaccine during this phase,” said Cynthia Dwyer, Administrator at William A. George Extended Care Facility.

“This vaccination adds a level of protection in our continued efforts to protect our residents, patients, staff and physicians. We also appreciate that with this Moderna vaccine we will be able to administer the vaccine to our residents in the comfort of their home. This has allowed this process to be done in a way that keeps them safe and comfortable.”

The Moderna vaccine is one of two vaccines that have been approved by Health Canada, and is expected to distributed to rural regions of the country due to its easier travel and storage requirements, compared to the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.