Indigenous Doctors are teaming up for VaxxFest to help raise vaccination rates among Indigenous youth across Canada.

Doctor James Makokis is a Family Physician and one of the co-founders of Power of 100 and VaxxFest. He says that while low vaccination rates of Indigenous youth are a concern that they are also understandable.

“We have to really think about Indigenous people’s experience not only with the health care system but also with colonization and genocide. I really think Indigenous people will be more comfortable at an event like this, with other Indigenous people,” he says.

The next two VaxxFest events are scheduled for November 13th at Ventures Hall in Little Buffalo, Alberta, and November 14th/15th Mamawintowin Hall in Cadotte Lake, AB from 1-7 P.M.

Makokis says it will be a COVID-safe, festival-style event, where youth have the opportunity to get vaccinated on site. The event will feature music, prizes, and interaction with social media influencers Dallas Waskahat, Fawn Wood, and Kiitokii.

More than 100 percent of Indigenous elders age 65 or older have received their first dose, while 95 percent of Indigenous elders age 65 or over have received both doses of the vaccine. The rates in Indigenous youth are much lower in the age 12-35 range and there have been approximately 47,000 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases on First Nation reserves in Canada.

VaxxFest events have taken place in Morley and Tsuu’tina (Calgary region) where 138 individuals were vaccinated.

Those interested in attending are reminded to bring identification, preferably their Alberta Heath Card.