Don’t waste, don’t want: Montana tribe provides COVID-19 vaccines at border crossing
A long line of cars was backed up at the Carway border crossing in southern Alberta this week as First Nations people and others took advantage of the Blackfeet Tribe’s free COVID-19 vaccinations in the Montana.
James McNeely, the tribe’s public information officer, said that despite a slow start in getting vaccines for the 10,000 residents of the reserve, 98% of those eligible had been vaccinated.
Many members of the reserve, 150 kilometers south of Lethbridge, Alta., Have relatives in Canada and, with plenty of extra vaccines, they decided to see if they could help, he added.
McNeely said the health administrator at the Browning Tribal Clinic said she had had a lot of vaccines that would expire if not used.
“She’s very spiritual and said it would be a sin to waste, so we started playing around with the idea of how we could vaccinate our loved ones in the north,” McNeely said Thursday in a Press interview. Canadian.
He said it took about a week to get approval from the tribal administration and the Canadian and US governments to set up the mobile clinic on the US side of the border.
“We were kidding. We were laughing.” Could we really do this? “And it happened. It really happened,” he said.
Canadians who attended the clinic were granted exemptions from quarantine for 14 days. They lined up in their cars, drove a loop, received their shots from the window, were watched for 15 minutes, and drove home.
McNeely said those who needed a second injection of Pfizer received them, while others were offered the Moderna vaccine.
More than 450 people passed through the two-day clinic and it was open to all members of the local community, he said.
“There were people lining up from Cardston crying as they passed because they didn’t think they were going to get the shot,” McNeely said.
The clinic is expected to return next week and again in 21 days so everyone can receive their second vaccine.
“We still have a lot of doses to share, but we see it as a number of things. It doesn’t matter race, creed, color, it’s about saving human lives,” he said.
Pam Blood, communications spokesperson for the neighboring Blood Tribe, said a number of residents have taken advantage of the clinic, especially those awaiting their second injection of Pfizer.
“It helped with the Pfizer, because a lot of the tribe members got their first injection of Pfizer so they could get their second shot,” Blood said.
“Then they opened it up to members of the Cardston community who wanted to get their first photo that weren’t on the list in phases. So many were able to access it as well, ”she said, adding that it was a wonderful gesture. .
“He thinks it’s just wanting to see how everyone can be protected the best they can.”