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Indigenous pop-up vaccination clinic open Wednesday, Thursday

At regional headquarters
Indigenous pop-up vaccination clinic March 24 2021
An Indigenous pop-up vaccination clinic is being held March 24 and March 25 at regional headquarters

Another Indigenous pop-up vaccination will be open in the region on Wednesday and Thursday.

It is being held at Region of Waterloo headquarters (150 Frederick Street in Kitchener).

First Nations, Métis and Inuit residents who indicated they would prefer vaccination in partnership with an Indigenous organization have been offered the opportunity to attend the vaccination clinic. An Indigenous elder will be available to support members of the community.

Leanne Hunt, Housing Administrator for KW Urban Native Wigwam Project, says a separate vaccination clinic is needed to protect Indigenous people from ongoing racism, stigma and discrimination.

"This is a place where they're not going to be questioned as to why they're getting the vaccine. They're not going to be questioned as to whether they're Indigenous because that's already been taken care of. So anybody coming through here is Indigenous and they are priority to get the immunization."

Executive Director for The Healing of the Seven Generations, Donna Dubie, says it is crucial to have a clinic for Indigenous adults only.

"It's because of historical reasons, because of how they were taken care of in residential systems and in the health care system, they were used as experiments. I want them to come in and get the shot and we trust that this shot is going to help protect them against COVID."

Hunt adds the clinic offers a sense of anonymity for clients coming in from surrounding areas like Brantford, Wellington-Dufferin and Woodstock.

"There's a lot of stigma surrounding this vaccine, based on the historic stuff that has happened to our people. And so, some people may not want to get close to their community while they're getting the vaccine. They want to have that place where they feel safe and not everyone's community is a safe place to be."

Hunt notes in just the next 24 hours, there will be 300 people getting vaccinated, with another 300 booked for next week at the regional clinic.

"That's just here. There's another Indigenous site in Kitchener-Waterloo that is full as well. That means there are 600 a week that are getting done in this community alone. We're full for the next 4-8 clinics, so it's getting done."

The clinic is a partnership between The Healing of the Seven Generations, the KW Urban Native Wigwam Project, the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre, Ontario Health West and the Region of Waterloo.

First Nations, Métis and Inuit residents can contact the KW Urban Native Wigwam Project at 519-743-5868, to book an appointment.

With notes from Blair Adams.

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