COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out in Alberta. The Your Health, Our Strength campaign was developed to provide Indigenous People with credible information about the COVID-19 vaccines.
Modern medicines, such as the COVID-19 vaccine, in relationship with our traditional teachings can work together to help protect community members, especially our Elders. If you decide to get the COVID-19 vaccine, offer protocol and ask Creator to bless it. Keep your mind open to it’s healing properties and learn more about the vaccine before you book your appointment.
Know the facts about the vaccines being offered in order to make the best decision for your health, and the health of your community.
Your health is our strength.
We have put together images you can share on social media with your friends and family. Download these images and encourage others to get the facts about the vaccine in order to make an informed decision.
We want to be a healthy community so we can be forceful and strong for generations to come.
If you serve an Indigenous community or organization in Alberta we have created assets that you can customize with your logo, print and share.
Howard Mustus shares his vaccination story.
Dr. Lafontaine says there were no safety shortcuts in developing the vaccines. Companies were given more support and resources due to the global crisis to develop these vaccines as quickly as possible.
We sat down with some trusted voices in our community to talk about COVID-19 vaccines. We had conversations with Dr. Alika LaFontaine, Dr. Evan Adams and Elder Howard Mustus from Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation.
Howard Mustus Sr. is an Elder from the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation. As a retiree, Mustus and his wife have been travelling the world and enjoying their free time. They planned to make 2020 another year to explore and see new places but the pandemic took that opportunity away.
As an Indigneous person with Cree, Anishnaabe, Métis and Pacific Islander roots, Dr. Lafontaine understands the hesitancy that many First Nations people face when considering getting vaccinated for the Coronavirus.
Dr. Evan Adams, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Public Health, Indigenous Services Canada and formerly Chief Medical Officer of the First Nations Health Authority in B.C., tells stories about his life and the importance of vaccination.
“I need to take it so I can survive and continue to help our young people become strong and resilient. This is a virus that has no mercy.”
For Rod, “Your Health, Our Strength” isn’t just a phrase – it is a healthy, natural space where our people can live free of disease and worry.
Know the facts about the vaccines being offered to make the best decision for your health, and the health of your community.How do vaccines work?
Vaccines contain weakened or inactive parts of a particular organism (antigen) that triggers an immune response within the body. Newer vaccines contain the blueprint for producing antigens. The vaccine provides enough of the antigen that our body learns to build the specific antibody. This way, if the body encounters the real antigen later, it knows how to respond and defeat it.
The vaccine is recommended for people with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes and/or heart disease. This is because most people with underlying health conditions are vulnerable to developing a severe illness if they contract COVID-19, and vaccines are the most effective way to prevent that from happening.
It can be difficult to separate the truth and facts about vaccinations. Widespread immunization has been proven to be one of the most successful public health strategies against numerous diseases. The COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you and others around you, particularly people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
COVID-19 can cause severe medical complications and lead to death in some people. It affects each person differently and there’s no way to know how it will directly impact you. If you get COVID-19, it is highly transmissible to those in your family and community.
People with compromised immune systems may be at an increased risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19. It is suggested that due to the increased risks of COVID-19, anyone with a compromised immune system should proceed with the vaccination. The potential benefit outweighs the risks at this time.
People with compromised immune systems were not included in large enough numbers in Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna clinical trials to determine how well the vaccine works for these patients or what side effects they might have.
If you have severe allergies to foods, environmental triggers, pets, oral medications, or latex - it is safe to receive the vaccine. You will be asked to stay an additional 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine as a precaution, in case there are adverse reactions.
If you have a severe allergy to any of the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccines, you should NOT receive the vaccine. Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to any vaccine or injectable medication should consult their doctor before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
Side effects include pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever. These reactions generally last one to two days. They are evidence that your immune system is working to respond to the vaccine and is a normal reaction to most vaccines.
To ensure vaccines are safe, there are many processes and standards in place. The COVID-19 vaccine has been rigorously tested and approved by Health Canada. The process to develop the vaccine was accelerated while still meeting the highest standards. With the urgent need to end the pandemic, interruptions between stages (such as funding) that most vaccines come across were eliminated or shortened to speed up the process.
Many strict protective measures are in place to ensure the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. Like all vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines must go through a rigorous, multi-step process, including large-scale trials involving tens of thousands of people. These trials, which include groups at high risk for COVID-19 (certain groups, such as pregnant and breastfeeding women, were not included in vaccine trials), are specifically designed to identify any common side effects or other problems of security.
The legacy of the residential school system, past unethical medical experiments and ongoing racism are very serious issues that can influence your decision.
Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is an individual’s choice. The federal, provincial, and territorial governments are aware that some individuals are unsure about receiving the COVID-19 vaccines. They are aware that seeking free, prior, and informed consent from individuals prior to vaccination is essential and required.
National Indigenous organizations, some national Indigenous health organizations, and Indigenous Elders and leaders have been involved in planning for COVID-19 vaccine distribution to Indigenous communities.
The safety and efficacy of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant women and breastfeeding women has not been tested yet. The vaccine may be approved for pregnant and breastfeeding women in certain age groups, if they have health risks that outweigh the risk of negative effects from the vaccination. Pregnant and breastfeeding women may give their informed consent to take the vaccine as long as they are aware that there is a lack of evidence about the effects the vaccine may have on them.
For the Pfizer vaccine to work fully, it must be given in two doses, with the second dose given 21 days after the first single dose. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 beginning one week after the second dose. This means that people may not be fully protected against COVID-19 until at least 7 days after the second dose.
For the Moderna vaccine, it must be given in two doses, with the second dose given 28 days after the first single dose. The Moderna vaccine was 94.1% effective in preventing COVID-19 beginning two weeks after the second dose. This means that people may not be fully protected against COVID-19 until at least 14 days after the second dose.
The vaccine will protect people from getting sick from the virus, but it’s possible after immunization that you could still carry the COVID-19 and be contagious to others. As the clinical trials continue for another two years, more will be understood about this risk. In the meantime, safety precautions must continue. This includes wearing masks, practicing physical distancing and limiting indoor gatherings.
At this time, long-term immunity data is not available. As with all vaccines, Health Canada will continue to monitor the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine on Canadians and will not hesitate to take action if any safety concerns are identified. It is still unknown what percentage of the population will need to be vaccinated to achieve community immunity.
At this time, it is unknown how long immunity lasts after receiving the vaccine. The Government of Canada continues to monitor the data and will provide new information as it becomes available.
The flu vaccine and the COVID vaccine are different and not interchangeable. Influenza (flu) and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-COV-2) and the flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Talk to your health care provider to learn more. As with most vaccinations, it is recommended to stop the spread of the flu.
No. If you have been vaccinated, it is important to continue following public health orders to protect each other and stop the spread of COVID-19. While the vaccine will help prevent you from getting sick, it’s possible that you could still carry COVID-19 and be contagious to others who have not received their immunization.
To stop the spread of the virus, herd immunity will need to be achieved through immunization. Public health measures will continue to be essential to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in Canada to save lives. Continue to wash your hands, stay home when sick, maintain physical distancing, and wear your mask when leaving your home.
First Nations members who decide to get the COVID-19 vaccine can book through their community health centre on reserve or through Alberta Health Services (AHS).
Book Online through AHS here: ahs.ca/covidvaccine