WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba Metis Federation is helping to get COVID-19 vaccines to Metis Elders and vulnerable citizens after receiving an unexpected shipment of AstraZeneca doses.

According to Frances Chartrand, the minister of health for the Metis Government of Manitoba, the MMF received confirmation that Shared Health gave MEDOCare Pharmacy 100 AstraZeneca vaccines for the federation. These vaccines have an expiration date of May 31, 2021.

“It just came out of the blue,” Chartrand said.

The MMF began to plan who will get these vaccines, with priority going to Winnipeg residents who are part of the Prescription Drug Program.

The federation then compiled a list of citizens who want to receive the vaccine doses, and notified them that they would be contacted to schedule an appointment.

“We’re contacting all our Elders. We have a database of probably over 5,000,” Chartrand said.

“So what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to contact them, high priority, seeing who already got their vaccine at the supersite, who was referred by their doctors.”

The vaccines are being administered at MEDOCare, located at 150 Henry Ave.

If everything proceeds as planned, these 100 vaccines will be administered by April 17.

The MMF is also helping to arrange transportation for citizens who need help getting to their vaccine appointments.

“We’re making sure that if they need transportation to get from point A to point B, we’ll make sure that there’s staff and we’ll hire people to take them there,” Chartrand said.

“We also have staff doing wellness checks, following up, making sure they’re okay.”

She said it’s important to look after the Metis Elders and seniors because they are the backbone of the Metis Nation.

“They are our history keepers, our knowledge keepers. They’re the ones that keep on moving forward,” Chartrand said.

She said she wants to see the province recognize the needs of Metis citizens across Manitoba.

“I just want all the Metis citizens all across the province to know that we have their back and we want to make sure that if they need any supports or any help that we’re there and we’re available to help them right away,” Chartrand said,

- With files from CTV’s Mason DePatie.