Pop-up vaccine site launches in Saskatoon as part of Métis Nation awareness campaign

Métis Nation-Saskatchewan has launched a public awareness campaign, titled "Vaccinated Métis Strong," to spread credible information about COVID-19, support the province’s public health orders and encourage vaccinations.

MN-S pop-up clinic delivered 120 COVID-19 vaccine doses on Friday

Métis Nation-Saskatchewan is hosting a pop-up vaccination clinic in downtown Saskatoon as part of its 'Vaccinated Métis Strong' public health campaign. (Submitted by Métis Nation-Saskatchewan)

Métis Nation-Saskatchewan has launched a public awareness campaign, titled "Vaccinated Métis Strong," to spread credible information about COVID-19, support the province's public health orders and encourage vaccinations. 

According to Marg Friesen, the organization's minister responsible for health, the campaign will promote accessible and culturally appropriate vaccine sites, while working to fight pandemic fatigue. 

"I know sometimes we think that we should be relaxed, and perhaps folks may become 'COVID-tired,'" she said. "However, we can't let our guard down. We have to continue the fight."

As part of the campaign, Métis Nation opened a two-day pop-up vaccination clinic at its new building in downtown Saskatoon on Friday.

"We had reached out to our Métis locals in the area, and they of course had a list of people waiting to be vaccinated," Friesen told CBC News in an interview Friday.

"We had originally started with [those aged] 50 and over, and the appointments filled up quickly because of the popularity and people wanting to be vaccinated. 

"So we lowered that age category when we needed to fill spots in our clinic … to the provincial age range."

Verna McCallum receives her COVID-19 vaccination at the pop-up clinic on Friday. (Submitted by Métis Nation-Saskatchewan)

The clinic delivered 280 shots over its two-day run.

Verna McCallum, who received her vaccine on Friday, called it "a big relief."

"I feel better to hang around my dad now because he got a shot too, so I feel good now after," McCallum was quoted as saying in a Métis Nation news release.

Appointments for Saturday are all booked up.

"We've had such a great response from community," Friesen said. "People are very engaged and wanting to support a Métis-specific, culturally appropriate vaccination clinic for COVID-19."

Those vaccinated received personal protective equipment to wear for their visit, bannock and a "Vaccinated Métis Strong" button.

MN-S also partnered with the Saskatchewan Health Authority to have health authority staff on site delivering the vaccine. Now, as the campaign continues, Métis Nation is looking for more partnership opportunities with organizations throughout the province. 

"Of course, we want to collaborate with all Indigenous clinics that are providing support and vaccines to Indigenous populations, including our First Nations colleagues, neighbours and communities," said Friesen.

"So we're working to collaborate with those urban vaccine clinics across the province. 

"And we're also hoping to provide more Métis-specific pop-up clinics in the future for everyone who wants to be vaccinated." 

With files from Bryan Eneas