Lac La Ronge Indian Band mandates vaccine passport for employees

The passport came into effect on Monday and applies to more than 600 band employees.

Author of the article:

Nick Pearce  •  Local Journalism Initiative

Lac La Ronge Indian Band Chief Tammy Cook-Searson in Stanley Mission, Sask. on Oct. 13, 2016.
Lac La Ronge Indian Band Chief Tammy Cook-Searson in Stanley Mission, Sask. on Oct. 13, 2016. Photo by Liam Richards /Liam Richards

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Lac La Ronge Indian Band is adopting a vaccine passport for its employees and facilities.

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“As a band, we continue to work together to actively promote immunizations. Mandating vaccination passports is another effort to meet the goal,” Chief Tammy Cook-Searson said in a prepared statement.

The passport came into effect on Monday and applies to more than 600 band employees, a spokesman said.

It also applies to all visitors over the age of 12 visiting non-commercial or large indoor events at band facilities, with the exception of buildings used as community halls, wakes and funerals, a news release said.

While there are no active outbreaks in the band’s communities, a significant number of COVID-19 cases are among unvaccinated band members, the news release said.

Northern Saskatchewan vaccination rates have continued to lag, despite higher caseloads.

The band’s move follows the provincial government’s plans to implement a vaccine passport system by October and the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA) recommending First Nations take a more a stringent approach to combatting spread of the virus. Cook-Searson and the chiefs of the Prince Albert Grand Council and Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation also endorsed the recommendations.

Band employee vaccine requirements also aren’t new. Big River First Nation has implemented a vaccine requirement for band employees with the onset of the school year.

There were 351 active cases of COVID-19 in NITHA communities as of Monday, with 170 in the far north east region that includes LLRIB.

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