'It's total relief': Enoch Cree Nation hosts Indigenous vaccination clinic
EDMONTON -- Enoch Cree Nation is welcoming all Indigenous people to its urban First Nations vaccination clinic at River Cree Resort.
Eligible recipients include First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people over the age of 50 and those aged 16 to 64 with high-risk underlying health conditions. Those meeting the criteria can receive their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
"It’s total relief," said recipient Ryan Cloutier. "It’s the peace of mind and not to be concerned about things any further… really looking forward to moving on past this now."
Organizers say they had hoped to vaccinate around 250 people each day over the four-day clinic – but those numbers are down.
"The vaccine uptake and the vaccine hesitancy is a little more prevalent amongst our people," explained Enoch Cree Nation Health Director of Quality Assurance, External Affairs Colleen McDonald.
"But at the same time we also know that First Nations have poor health conditions, poor housing, inadequate drinking water and so those determinants of health often impact our health and put us a little bit more at risk."
McDonald also discussed how the pandemic has been affecting the mental health of First Nations people.
"If we could get back to some sense of normalcy by way of protecting us through the vaccination, I really strongly believe that it would actually be a positive impact on the mental health of our people," said McDonald.
"We’ve lost far too many to this pandemic and we've even lost more to addictions and suicide resulting from the isolation when it comes to a virus that is uncertain to us."
The vaccination clinic is open from 9:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Thursday is the last day of the clinic.