Sask. First Nation refutes claims of forced COVID-19 vaccinations
A Saskatchewan First Nation is pushing back against baseless claims involving the community.
False claims circulating on social media alleged people in Black Lake First Nation were being forced to take COVID-19 vaccines, with people fleeing "into the bush" to avoid being vaccinated.
"Chief and council in Black Lake First Nation, Saskatchewan strongly refute statements made in a careless Facebook video," the First Nation's leadership said in a statement shared with media.
"Black Lake First Nation strongly supports the personal choice and freedom to choose to be vaccinated or remain unvaccinated."
The video also prompted a response from the Athabasca Health Authority (AHA), which serves the community.
"There is no dire situation in Black Lake," the AHA said in a statement issued after it became aware of the misinformation circulating online.
"We can confirm to you that no one is hiding nor forced to the bush for avoiding (vaccinations)."
According to the AHA, vaccine uptake is "steadily increasing by the day" in the community.
The First Nation was hard hit by a COVID-19 outbreak during the summer and the community's chief Archie Robillard died after testing positive for the illness.
In its statement, the AHA said there are no active COVID-19 cases in Black Lake or any other community served by the health authority.
Black Lake is one of two AHA communities where a tuberculosis outbreak was declared earlier this month.