Enoch Cree Nation welcomes Edmonton-area Indigenous residents to COVID-19 vaccine clinic

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Enoch Cree Nation on the western edge of Edmonton is inviting all Indigenous area residents who qualify to get their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic set up this week inside the River Cree Resort and Casino.

Any First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) people meeting the medical criteria can get their first shot at the site operating through to Thursday this week, said the Cree Nation in a Tuesday morning press release.

“Enoch welcomes this opportunity to lead and host the first ever urban First Nations vaccination clinic in partnership with Alberta Health Services (AHS), Indigenous Services Canada First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB), the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, Treaty Eight First Nations of Alberta, Yellowhead Tribal College, and Enoch’s Miyo Machihowin (Health) Department,” Enoch Chief Billy Morin said in a statement.

Enoch’s Miyo Machihowin (Health) Department is offering the clinic from 9:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. The clinic will help to address the fact that many Indigenous people are more at risk for severe health outcomes from COVID-19 due to  underlying health conditions.

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On the first day of the clinic, Monday, 190 people booked appointments, and dozens more received the vaccine on a walk-in basis. Over 270 vaccinations had been scheduled for Tuesday.

“First Nations health leaders are honoured to bring forward this process where we are asserting sovereignty over Indigenous healthcare. Before vaccines are administered each day, we hold a pandemic-safe ceremony and prayer which follows cultural protocols. It is important to create a safe and ethical space for our people who administer the vaccine and those who will receive it,” Colleen McDonald, external executive director of the Enoch Miyo Machihowin (Health) Department, said in a statement.

The Cree Nation also reminds everyone to physically distance, avoid gatherings, and wear a mask at the clinic and in their own communities.

“We’re all in this together. We need to be gentle, kind, and patient with one another,” added Enoch councillor Amanda Morin. “It’s important that we work together in our relationships with patience, love, kindness, and
to follow the seven sacred teachings.”

Eligible recipients include FNMI individuals born in 1971 or earlier residing
in an urban setting, and those born between 1957 to 2005 (aged 16 to
64) with eligible high-risk underlying health conditions.

Those who qualify are asked to book their vaccinations by calling 780-444-9366 to provide their name, phone number, confirmation of FNMI status, and address.

Medical transportation from the Edmonton region to the clinic can also be booked at that number.

Participants are asked to bring their Alberta Health Care card or their Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) number to the clinic.