Practice report: An Alberta Métis model for COVID-19 vaccine delivery

In January 2021, the COVID-19 vaccine became available to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) over the age of 65 living in First Nations communities or Métis settlements in Alberta. In March, vaccine eligibility in Alberta expanded to include FNMI peoples of younger ages and in urban settings. The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) and other Indigenous organizations recognized that FNMI populations might be better served by tailored vaccine programs.

The MNA is the government for the Métis people in Alberta. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the MNA has supported its citizens, through financial and mental wellness support, access to personal protective equipment, and messaging regarding public health orders. When vaccines became available, culturally appropriate virtual vaccine information sessions were provided. In March 2021, the MNA delivered the first Métis-led COVID-19 vaccination clinic. Unique to the clinic’s success was the location, online booking process, and community presence. The clinic focused on cultural safety, including the availability of Indigenous health professionals to community members, and cultural reference points throughout the clinic.

In the first MNA clinic, over 1300 people were vaccinated. Visitors shared appreciation for the culturally specific aspects of the clinic, which contributed to increased safety and comfort. Based on the success of the first Métis-led vaccination clinic, similar services in communities with high numbers of Métis people have been approved. This innovative practice initiative could provide a model of COVID-19 vaccine service delivery that could be used to meet the needs of Métis citizens in other jurisdictions in Canada.

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King KD, Bartel R, James A, MacDonald SE

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