MNO Telephone Town Hall with Seniors
March 3, 2021
On March 3, 2921, the MNO held a Telephone Town Hall for seniors (65+) to address recent and ongoing developments concerning Covid-19 and the vaccine rollout in Ontario. Co-hosted by MNO President Margaret Froh, Chair Hank Rowlinson, and MNO epidemiologist Sarah Edwards, the Town Hall also included a Q&A portion for seniors to ask questions and raise concerns. Over 600 seniors attended the Telephone Town Hall.
Covid-19 Update from President
In her update, President Froh reviewed what is known about Covid-19 and its variants, and infection rates amongst the Métis community. As of February:
- A smaller proportion of Métis Citizens test positive overall compared to mainstream Ontario population.
- However, these number have been growing in recent weeks, as it has across Canada.
- As of mid-February, we know 161 Citizens have tested positive out of the 7000 who have been tested.
As a Métis Citizen, you can be tested at any testing or assessment centre, regardless of symptoms. To find sites near you, we advise Citizens do an online search for “Covid Ontario testing locations.”
While there are concerns about how quickly the vaccines have been developed, the MNO reassures Citizens that no evaluation processes were cut in their development. Researchers were able to build off of years of existing data on the coronavirus, and held extensive clinical trials to test its safety.
To date across Canada,
- At least 2.6M doses have been administered in Canada
- 1235 adverse effects (.088%) with 167 reported as serious
Being vaccinated is a choice, and the MNO respects your autonomy. When making your decision, use recommended reliable sources such as Canada.ca or the MNO website
Vaccines approved for use in Canada
|mRNA vaccine*||mRNA vaccine*||Adenovirus vector vaccine|
|Two-dose vaccine||Two-dose vaccine||Two-dose vaccine|
|95% effective in preventing Covid-19||94.5% effective in preventing Covid-19||64% effective in preventing Covid-19|
|16 years of age and older||18 years of age and older||18 years of age and older|
|Not available for 65+ older|
*mRNA vaccines work by triggering antibodies which help fight the infection if exposed to the virus and greatly reduces the risk and causes milder symptoms.
Updates on Covid-19 Vaccination Clinics
As there has been a shortage of Covid-19 vaccines in Canada, the rollout in Ontario will be happening in phases. Métis Citizens are included in phase 1 of the priority rollout. In a majority of cases, vaccines will be administered by public health units, and guidelines will vary depending on the individual unit.
Ontario public health units may be permitting non-Metis household family members to receive the vaccination, however this varies depending on the public health unit. Currently those eligible for the vaccine are Citizens who are high risk or immunocompromised or those 65+.
Vaccine locations sites include:
- Hospitals and public health units
- Mobile clinics
- Clinics with existing Indigenous health care service providers (like Ottawa’s Wabano)
- Mass vaccination sites
The MNO has a designated vaccine clinic team, who are in contact with public health units across Ontario. Of the 30 public health units, we have received 14 vaccine clinic notifications which includes four active clinics and ten more opportunities to register/preregister for additional vaccine clinics (Update: Since the Town Hall, additional active clinics have been announced).
At this time, active clinics in Ontario include:
- Ottawa (Wabano Health)
- Guelph Dufferin
- Chatham –Kent
- Manitoulin / Espanola
- Owen Sound
- South-western Ontario
- Fort Erie
- Oshawa/ Durham
- Blind River
- Iron Bridge
- Elliot Lake
The MNO will continue to update its list of vaccination sites and public health units. For more information on these sites and locations visit the MNO website at https://www.metisnation.org/news/covid-vaccine-clinics-across-ontario/
Communications with the community
A variety of media will be engaged to ensure the community is informed of developments. We recommend regularly checking the MNO website for updates on available sites.
The MNO will be making robo-calls to Citizens when a clinic has been confirmed in your area and will provide instructions on how to register for an appointment. Those with questions are encouraged to reach out the MNO by email or phone.
Covid-19 Support Line Toll-free Number: 1-800-263-4889
What to expect for your appointment
To receive the vaccine, you must be a resident of Ontario. Citizens are required to bring their OHIP card, and MNO Citizenship card to the appointment. For Citizens without a Citizenship card a letter from the MNO Registry will be accepted. For public health units allowing non-Metis household members to receive the vaccination, proof of shared address must be provided at the appointment.
Those requiring assistance in getting to and from your appointment can contact the MNO at 613-295-4501.
Covid-19 Supports and Programs for Seniors
A full list of Covid-19 supports and programs can be found at: https://www.metisnation.org/covid-19-support-programs/
Supports that may be of specific interest to Seniors include:
- Metis Home Improvement Program
- Housing Stabilization Program
- Tablet program for seniors experiencing isolation
- Snow removal services
- Rent supplement for low-to-moderate income
- Mental Health and Addictions 24hr- Crisis Line: 1-877-767-7572
Questions & Answers
I have an appointment on Friday for my vaccination, but I take pain medication Aleve for my arthritis. Should I take my medication the day of my shot?
We advise that you first contact either your doctor, or the health professionals administering the vaccine for their recommendation. However, our research indicates that the National Committee on Immunization recommends not taking pain medication before or at the time of vaccination.
My family are MNO Citizens and have had difficulties booking for our entire family, what should I do?
Booking is managed through public health units, so we advise continue trying to contact your local unit. Due to the high volume of calls some units may not be taking messages at this time, but we encourage continuing to call regularly until a representative is reached.
Do Metis Citizens have access to a lawyer, for instance in assisting with preparing a will?
The MNO is exploring new options to provide Citizens with access to legal services. The MNO Mental Health and Addictions program includes legal support, and can put you in touch with a paralegal. You can email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-263-4889. For non-urgent requests, you can also call 613-217-3143.
I live in London and am getting vaccination on Tuesday, but what about my partner?
Public health units set their own guidelines, we advise you continue checking the MNO website for updates on clinics and clinic information. At this time the London public health unit is not vaccinating non-Metis household family members. However, this policy may change should Ontario formally approve an extension to household family members.
Can the MNO provide quick screening tests to Councils?
The MNO does not provide screening tests, however all Metis Citizens can be tested at any testing centre, regardless of symptoms. Covid-19 testing centres can be found by searching “Covid Ontario Testing Locations.”
In our area, all vaccination appointments were booked within an hour. When will appointments be opened again?
Public health units are coordinating the booking of appointments, and will vary depending on vaccine availability. The federal government provides vaccines to Ontario and Ontario then provides them to public health units. However, we do expect to see more vaccines flowing to Ontario within the next few weeks.
I live in Sault Ste. Marie, where can I find more information on vaccinations in my area?
The Algoma public health unit has been working with regional leadership to set up vaccinations for our Citizens in the Sault Ste. Marie community. Visit the MNO vaccination clinic page for more information.
My brother is 65 years old but does not have a Citizenship card, how would he go about getting vaccinated or put on a waiting list?
Currently, you must show a Citizenship card to receive a vaccination. If a card is lost, you can request a letter from the MNO Registry. If you have neither, we advise continuing to check with area clinics, as certain public health units are providing vaccinations for specific age bands.
AstraZeneca is not recommended for those 65+, will other vaccines such as the Johnson and Johnson vaccine be available soon?
Health Canada’s Chief Medical Advisor is expected to make a final decision within the next couple of weeks on the review of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. [Update: Health Canada approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two days after the MNO Seniors Town Hall). At this time, only Pfizer and Moderna are recommended for those 65+.
I am 72 years old living with my wife and my son, who are not Metis Citizens. We registered online but when I inquired on whether my wife and son should also attend my appointment I was told I was the only one on the list. Are the public health units holding back on the vaccine due to limited supply?
Because of the limited supply and lack of clear direction from Ontario concerning eligibility for non-Metis household family members, they may not have been included in the registration. We advise following up with your local public health unit on these issues.
Is Covid-19 at all related to Lyme disease? I see they share many common symptoms.
Though they may share certain symptoms, Lyme disease and Covid-19 are very different types of infection. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi); and Covid-19 is a virus (SARS-CoV-2).