The Saskatoon Tribal Council is set to open a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people next week at SaskTel Centre.
“Whoever registers will get a call, whether they’re First Nations or non-First Nations,” Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand said on Wednesday. “We’re here to serve everybody. That’s the goal, get as many people vaccinated [as possible].”
The clinic, which will open on April 6 and is intended to operate for at least four months, will administer vaccines to people in the same eligible age groups as those being served at provincially-run clinics, Arcand said.
“We’re hoping there’s some consideration to allow us to vaccinate others, but we’ll take the direction,” he said.
The doses will be supplied by the province, which receives vaccines from the federal government. The tribal council hopes to inoculate 200 people a day.
There will be smudging opportunities at the clinic as well as staff to help people navigate language barriers, Arcand said.
“Identity and culture is very important, so we’ve provided this option where you say, yes, you can do this.”
Rides will also be offered, with drivers wearing masks, sanitizing vehicles and following all other health precautions, Arcand said.
One-thousand one-hundred people across all age groups have registered so far, including 120 aged 60 or over who have appointments for next week.
More information about registration can be found on the tribal council’s website.
Similar clinics are being planned in Battleford and Prince Albert.
Federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said the fight against COVID-19 is a race against time and the agreements Ottawa has signed with groups like the Saskatoon Tribal Council help beat the clock.
“Those are all in an effort to move quickly in real time,” Miller said.