Chief Ouray Crowfoot described the overall operations of the COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Siksika Nation to be going “swimmingly,” as he commended the operating team for their work.
According to Crowfoot, much of the feedback the clinic has been getting since its activation has been positive, both from local community members and surrounding municipalities.
“As far as I know, a lot of the feedback I’m getting is that a lot of the neighboring communities and a lot of our municipalities that surround Siksika are happy that we opened the doors and are very thankful for the opportunity,” he said.
CEO of Siksika Health Services, Tyler White, said he estimates around 2,000 doses have been administered to rural residents in the local area, as well as around 23,000 COVID-19 tests having been completed through the clinic.
“We’ve been active and we’re so glad that we’re able to support the rural communities around Siksika,” he said. “It’s more than just the vaccine. We’re building relationships and I think creating awareness and understanding, and also providing education at the same time.
White estimates 90 per cent or more of individuals in the area who are 60 years of age or older have been vaccinated through the clinic.
He added the team has a mobile clinic going around communities on the reserve and still finding residents who have yet to receive their first dose.
Crowfoot said he is not surprised with the performance of the clinic, explaining he didn’t expect anything less from those operating the clinic.
“We run a second-to-none operation at Siksika,” said Crowfoot. “We had positive feedback when we opened up the first urban clinic in Calgary for First Nation members, not just for Siksika.
“I knew that when we opened up one on the nation for the surrounding communities, it was going to be well organized and well run.”
As of July 19, the stationary clinic was transitioned out of the Deerfoot Sportsplex, to the Siksika Health and Wellness Centre.
The move was done in order to open up the facility to sports and recreation again, as COVID-19 restrictions have lifted in Alberta.
“We’re essentially giving it back so the community can have sports programs and activities,” said White.
“We’ll continue to be diligent and continue to provide services at a very high level to, to anyone who wants to vaccine.”
Siksika Nation is still working closely with Alberta Health Services and Health Canada regarding discussions around COVID-19 booster shots in the fall and whether they will be offered at the clinic on reserve.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times