Indigenous adults can now receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
Windsor Regional Hospital and the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC) have partnered to identify and encourage the Indigenous community in Windsor-Essex to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones.
As of Friday, February 26th, 59 members of the Indigenous community in our region have received the vaccine and program lead, and WRH RN Sara Williams hopes to do more. In the first week of March, close to 200 others have appointments booked.
The vaccination centre at the St. Clair College Sportsplex has added decorations such as tribal printed curtains instead of plain curtains, cedar above the doors, walls have been washed with cedar and weekly smudging ceremonies are taking place to cleanse the energy in the space to welcome the Indigenous population and make them feel more comfortable.
“Given Canada’s past with vaccinating and the Indian Hospitals, it has been interesting to see the reason for their hesitation,” says Williams. “The generation I just vaccinated - the 60 plus - a lot of them were referring to smallpox and what that did to the Indigenous people. As well, the Indian Hospitals actually conducted experiments and research using indigenous children with needles, so there is quite a bit of fear.”
Currently, the age group, 40 and above are being vaccinated and in speaking with them, Williams notes many indicate their parents had a pleasant experience at the vaccination centre, therefore they are willing to get vaccinated as well.
“We are doing everything possible to let people know that if they want a vaccine, we have one available,” adds Williams.
The Indigenous population is at a higher risk due to the prevalence of co-morbidities, living arrangements and their life expectancy is lower compared to the general population.
For more information about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the SOAHAC website.
To book an appointment or speak to an Indigenous Navigator, call 1-833-927-0197 or email email@example.com
1995 Lens Avenue, Windsor, ON N8W 1L9
1030 Ouellette Avenue, Windsor, ON N9A 1E1