A mobile vaccination clinic has been deployed to vaccinate Aboriginal people in urban areas of Montreal.
There, they received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as a symbol of their origin: traditional medicinal herbs. The Canadian press was able to track on Friday the team of one of these mobile clinics, which cross the metropolis and offer services to indigenous members more suited to them and their cultures.
The herbal bag was a special focus of the Montreal Autochtone organization, which initiated the creation of this clinic and worked with the CIUSSS du Center-sud-de-l’le-de-Montréal and other organizations. Do this.
“It means healing,” explained Native Montreal CEO Philippe Mailer, keeping a close eye on the community center’s gym, which was converted that day into a dedicated vaccination center.
Around him, workers were busy vaccinating the first to arrive, representatives of various peoples such as the Innu, Cree, Huron Vendat, and Malisit.
Montreal Native, which prepared the campaign, took care of promoting the clinic and made appointments using its own registration system, which is already in use for other events, Mr Best explained.
“We are an organization that can reach out to Aboriginal people.” In addition, he adds that familiar faces can reassure those who are concerned. The mobile clinic began operations last week and hundreds of indigenous people have already been vaccinated.
This approach has several advantages, explained Carol Gesseny, head of mobile vaccination at the CIUSSS-du-Center-Sud-de-l’Ile-de-Montréal.
“We try to provide culturally appropriate services within the walls of their organizations because we know that the indigenous people do not trust the healthcare system,” she explained at the vaccination base camp for her sector at the Palais congrès.
“By providing personalized services, we try to reach as many people as possible,” said one who is in charge of the many other mobile vaccination clinics deployed to reach, for example, CHSLD residents, private homes, seniors, youth centers. and inexpensive accommodation on the island of Montreal. She adds that the CIUSSS also wanted to respond to the expressed need for a lack of safety agents at the vaccination site.
CIUSSS “followed us,” judges Mr. Mailer, who views the collaboration as exceptional.
On Friday morning, the Palais des Congrès vaccination center looked like an anthill.
Employees, divided into different positions, have arrived in dozens. In a room created by white signs, eight workers assigned to a mobile indigenous clinic assembled their computer equipment and organized vaccination kits. Precious doses of the vaccine were waiting for them that morning.
A minibus came for them. Despite the cold April rain, a good mood reigned there, and some of them chatted along the way, smelling of antiseptic gel, about their “mission of the day.”
He parked outside the CÉDA Community Center in Petite Burgundy, a few blocks from Atwater Market, which had been turned into a mobile vaccination clinic for the day. This is the favorite of José Marchand, a retired nurse.
“Mobile clinics are doing much better,” he says. But here everything is well organized and people respect their assignments. ”
And then, he admits, it allows him to work with his wife Martina, a nurse like him whom he met “at school.”
Like several mobile clinic workers who were visited on Friday, Mr. Marchand gave his name on the I Contribute website. This also applies to Hall Anterson Luke, a Haitian-trained physician who usually works in a medical electrophysiology laboratory but was there with a syringe in hand on Friday, and Melanie Maho, whose line of business is catering but is currently helping. as an administrative agent.
Jose Marchand is in charge of the “vaccine reconstitution”. An experienced nurse should dilute the doses of Pfizer vaccine and prepare syringes for colleagues who will insert needles into their hands.
Upon arrival, without wasting a minute, the team members immediately donned pale blue medical equipment, cleared their vaccination tables, then unpacked and laid out their equipment in front of them: disinfectant swabs, cotton balls, bandages and syringes. On that day, their roster included 114 people, indigenous adults of all ages, as well as their family members.
A social worker was on site. The native language translation is available on another site where the mobile vaccination minibus runs, at the Native Friendship Center in the heart of the metropolis, but not at the one that visited Little Burgundy on Friday. However, workers are present to explain the documents that need to be signed. Some people who are reluctant to vaccinate, including elders, sometimes needed extra support, Mailer notes.
The vaccination staff included four nurses employed by the Native Canada Service.
“We’re more of a weapon,” said one of them, Valerie Bérard, who is delighted to be involved in efforts to vaccinate the people she works with. And then, according to M.me Hesseni, these nurses have valuable experience working with Aboriginal peoples.
Everyone is ready, everyone is sitting at their table, the vaccinators were waiting. The first customer showed up at 0945 sharp at this old school gym.
The Aboriginal gathering on Friday was unanimous: it was quick and efficient, launching several newly vaccinated people at once, such as Catherine Aubin Dubois, a member of the Wieger Malicite First Nation who glanced at her laughing eyes just above his face. Many were also happy that they were vaccinated more quickly, before the mass vaccinations began.
Travis Heritage of the Cree people in Mistissini found the initiative of the mobile Aboriginal clinic important and encouraging: “We make the exercise our own,” he said.
As for Soleil Lonniere from the Machteuates Innu of the Lac-Saint-Jean nation, she was happy to be vaccinated at the mobile clinic. With Native Montreal, “we feel confident. And we feel together. ”
“We loved the native Montreal touch that traditional medicine supports modern medicine. Power is two, ”she said softly.
These herbs are “a reminder of our own medicine on an individual and mental level,” Mailer explained.
He calls vaccination a “great success.”
However, it is concerned that the most vulnerable indigenous people, including the homeless, will not be available at the clinic, which requires an appointment. As for these, he discusses to find solutions with CIUSSS and Direction de la santé publique de Montréal.