SUDBURY -- The COVID-19 vaccine is starting to arrive in remote communities in northern Ontario.

On Tuesday, the Weeneebayko and Area Health Authority (WAHA), Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, and the Porcupine Health Unit announced vaccinations will begin this week in Moosonee for those in congregate living settings.

"The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is being delivered to support the fly-in and remote First Nations communities along the James Bay and Hudson Bay coast served by WAHA," a news release said.

“We are very fortunate to have the Moderna vaccine in the James & Hudson Bay Coast, and to work with our collaborative partners through operation remote immunity in keeping our people and our region safe,” Lynne Innes, president and CEO of WAHA, said in the release.

Dr. Lianne Catton, medical officer of health at the Porcupine Health Unit, said she is pleased to be working with community partners to distribute the vaccine.

“The vaccine is a critical step forward in fighting this pandemic and protecting the health and safety of all communities,” Catton said in the release.

Catton emphasized that the vaccine is safe. To be authorized, vaccines must go through a rigorous review process demonstrating that the benefits outweigh the risks.

The vaccine is one more tool against COVID-19, she added, and an important step towards in ending this pandemic. By receiving a vaccination, you are helping to protect yourself, your family and friends, and most importantly those who are at a higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19.

“While this is really good news for the North, we need to be patient and recognize that it will take time to immunize everyone who wants the vaccine," Catton said. "Even though vaccination is beginning in the area, it is still very important that everyone continue to follow public health measures.”

Detailed information on the vaccine development and approval process in Canada can be found here.

For more information from Weenneebayko Area Health Authority visit the WAHA website.

Vaccine information can be found on the Porcupine Health Unit’s webpage.