WINNIPEG -- Members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will remain in northern Manitoba communities until at least June 30 to help with the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller made the comments while updating the COVID-19 vaccination rollout for First Nations communities in Canada Wednesday morning.

It comes one week after Ottawa confirmed the CAF would be helping vaccinate up to 23 remote communities in northern Manitoba.

“With First Nations, we are working to support this goal and working to identify specific communities where support is needed,” Miller said, adding planning is underway in communities including Norway House, God’s Lake Narrows, Beren’s River, and Little Grand Rapids.

“Armed forces will be supporting the vaccination programs in up to 23 communities in close collaboration with First Nations leadership until at least June 30.”

Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s Minister of National Defence, said CAF members will be arriving in Thompson tomorrow to set up a staging hub, and are ready to begin operations on March 29.

“Our members will help coordinate and deliver supplies to our partners,” he said. “Our medical personnel will provide assistance and administer vaccines to patients, and our logistics professionals will help establish on-reserve vaccination clinics, as well as transport community members to and from clinics where required.”

Miller said Ottawa wants to ensure Manitoba's First Nations can hit their immunization goals.

“This operation will accelerate the pace of immunization in the province,” he said. “Manitoba First Nations' leaders are making plans to vaccinate all adults in all 63 First Nations communities with a goal of reaching 100,000 people in 100 days. Together, we will make sure that residents’ needs are met, that everyone can be safe and healthy, and we will continue to be there, if need arises.”

According to the province, 13,309 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to First Nations people. The data is updated every Friday.