Smooth COVID-19 vaccine experience has Saskatoon Kokum encouraging others to get vaccinated

·2 min read
Pauline Okemow with her grandson Danzel Okemow alongsider her moshoom child Kendall Sutherland and Baby Kodee Okemow at her home in Saskatoon. She says her loved ones are some of the main reasons she got the COVID-19 vaccine and now she's encouraging others to get the shot. (Supplied by Pauline Okemow - image credit)
Pauline Okemow with her grandson Danzel Okemow alongsider her moshoom child Kendall Sutherland and Baby Kodee Okemow at her home in Saskatoon. She says her loved ones are some of the main reasons she got the COVID-19 vaccine and now she's encouraging others to get the shot. (Supplied by Pauline Okemow - image credit)

Pauline Okemow says she was a little nervous about getting her COVID-19 vaccine at first, but after going through the experience, she's encouraging others to make sure they're protected.

The 59-year-old Saskatoon resident got her vaccine on April 2 at the Saskatchewan Health Authority vaccination clinic at Merlis Belsher Place and she said getting the shot was a "little one, two, three step process" that was over "very quick."

"The whole process — from the front door to getting the vaccine — probably was about 15 minutes," she said.

Okemow says she had seen a lot of information about the COVID-19 vaccines floating around online, but said all of her questions were answered by nurses on site, which helped to put her at ease, saying overall, the experience was a positive one.

For her, she wants to make sure she's able to be there for those in her life and wanted to use the vaccine as another layer of protection in case she encounters the virus, but she said she didn't just get the vaccine for her family, but for others in the community as well.

"It's my duty to make sure that I don't infect anybody," she said. "That I don't make anybody sick."

Those who are looking to get vaccinated in Saskatoon will soon have a new avenue to do so, as over the weekend the Government of Saskatchewan announced it would be opening a drive-thru immunization centre in the city on Monday.

A map on how to access the COVID-19 immunization clinic at Prairieland Park, which is set to open on Monday morning. The clinic is operating on a first come, first served basis for eligible paitents.
A map on how to access the COVID-19 immunization clinic at Prairieland Park, which is set to open on Monday morning. The clinic is operating on a first come, first served basis for eligible paitents.(Saskatchewan Health Authority )

A government news release indicated the drive-thru vaccine sites will be located at Prairieland Park and will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday and from 7:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m. until the vaccine is gone.

After her own experience, Okemow encouraged other seniors — especially those in the Indigenous community who may want to get vaccinated, but might be hesitant — to make their own choices about the shot, and not let others influence their decision.

"I would tell them to just go and get it done," she said. "They should have to be able to decide for themselves instead of being telling them: 'that there's poison in there. It's going to do this, or it's going to do that,' they can ask those questions when they get the vaccine."

Those looking to take advantage of the new drive-thru immunization centres should know thy are operating on a "first-come, first-served basis," and only those 55 years of age or older on the date of the immunization will be vaccinated.