By Victoria Gray
Six Nations needs to build confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine because people aren’t signing up for the shot.
Six Nations Elected Council Chief Mark Hill gave a vaccination update at Six Nations Elected Council’s (SNEC) April 13th meeting and said a lot of work will happen over the coming weeks to get as many community members vaccinated as possible.
“Our own Six Nations internal goal really is to make sure we’re exhausting every opportunity for community members to get vaccinated,” he said. “The comms (communications) team can touch a little bit on the vaccine confidence campaign, the idea in preliminary, is to get more of our members vaccinated.”
Councillor Wendy Johnson said some people are still having trouble booking their vaccine and outreach is badly needed. She asked if there was a way to offer evening and weekend clinics for those who work during the day.
“People are still asking – sometimes they have difficulty booking. We don’t have calendars up,” she said. “How can we encourage people and doing mobile vaccines. Are we going out to community members? Are we doing that? Is there any way to set up evening and weekend vaccination? To get more opportunities to give more choices for community members to be vaccinated, if they so choose.”
Hill said they are working to get more dates for vaccination clinics scheduled toward the end of the month and possibly having people vaccinated at health services five days a week in small batches.
“To have low numbers go to Public Health as opposed to the mass vaccination site. The weekend clinics, those have been really successful due to people working diligently,” he said.
SNEC is also mailing COVID-19 vaccination information to all community members this week to help them understand the vaccine, how to get it and to encourage them to get the shot.
“We do still have the mass vaccine clinic at the arena. We’re trying our best to make sure we’re getting to elders and seniors, making sure we can help offset the process,” he said.
Hill said the Vaccine Task Force has discussed mobile vaccines for seniors and those who are housebound, but said the vaccine can cause a logistical challenge to storage temperatures and length of time unrefrigerated. Once a vaccine is brought down to between 2C to 6C for six hours, it must be thrown away. Brant County paramedics have started to deliver a mobile program in the last week.
“Still paramedics are working with Brant. They had some success in getting members who are not able to leave homes. We’re looking to build the capacity to do that,” he said.
SNEC is also hoping members who were vaccinated off territory can call Public Health and let them know they have had their first or second shot, so health officials can add them into the number of community members vaccinated.
Hill knows essential workers are in need and they are working to get as many people vaccinated as possible.
“We are working with one of largest employers to make sure all staff are vaccinated, our teachers even to Polytechnic and other target groups. Again, we’re trying to put this all in a document to full council so you can answer questions form community members.”
As of April 20 there are 12active cases and 121 people in self-isolation. There are five confirmed cases of the UK variant of concern. There are no members in the hospital and there have been 10 deaths.
About 8 per cent of community members have received a vaccination with 2,211 people partially vaccinated and 676 fully vaccinated.
Six Nations is currently in the Black Alert Level Status and should only be leaving home for essential trips and should not be gathering with anyone outside of their household.
All those 18 and older are eligible to receive a vaccine. Visit https://www.sixnationscovid19.ca/ for more information or to book a vaccine.
By Victoria Gray