Cowichan Tribes pivoted on Wednesday, giving second doses of COVID-19 vaccine bound for elders second doses as first doses for the general population.
“It is a pretty powerful moment to be a part of,” said Nilak Ironhawk-Tommy, a nurse and Cowichan Tribes member who was administering vaccines Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Cowichan Tribes said that it would not be administering second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as originally planned, instead opting to provide first doses to as many people in the community as possible.
“Our goal is from January through to now is 1,991, what we’ve actually completed up to this point is 1,663 doses,” said Amber MacAdam, pandemic lead, with Cowichan Tribes. “So, we have another 300 and a bit to give out and we’re hoping to do that today and into tomorrow.”
The move comes after Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, recently announced the province would delay administering second doses of COVID vaccine by up to 16 weeks.
It also comes as Saanich North MLA Adam Olson announced that the Tsartlip First Nation has been experiencing an outbreak of COVID19 and we have been under shelter-in-place orders for weeks.
Many Cowichan Tribes members have family connections to the Tsartlip First Nation.
Cowichan Tribes says it will be reaching out to those who have already received first doses earlier this year, to let them know when they will be able to get their second dose.
“We will call all members who received their first dose Jan 13/14 to inform them when the second dose clinics are happening,” Cowichan Tribes said on Facebook.
Cowichan Tribes, the largest single band in B.C. with 4,900 people, has been dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 since January and a shelter-in-place order remains in place.
Since Dec. 31, there have been 249 cases and five deaths reported within the community, according to data provided by the Cowichan Tribes.