'Vaxxfest' brings in influencers, doctors to boost Alberta's Indigenous immunization rates
An event hoping to boost vaccination rates in Alberta's Indigenous youth will be held this weekend.
'Vaxxfest' is a three-day push aiming to attract young Albertans to facilities in Morley and Calgary where vaccines will be available.
It's being billed as a festival-like experience where those on site will also be able to meet Indigenous social media influencers like Fawn Wood, Dallas Waskahat, Notorious Cree and Kendra Jessie.
First and second doses will be available.
The festivities will be hosted by The Power of 100, a group that hopes to achieve a 100 per cent COVID-19 vaccination rate in all of Canada's First Nations.
Group founder Dr. Lana Potts is a Blackfoot family physician from Treaty 7. She'll be administering shots over the weekend
"First Nations Peoples are impacted by the deadly virus 13 times more than non-Indigenous people,” Potts said. “'Vaxxfest' aims to protect the herd by encouraging youth to get behind their elders, 95 per cent of whom are fully vaccinated.”
First Nations, specifically ones in Alberta and Saskatchewan, have been hit very hard by COVID-19.
"The choice to get vaccinated is an individual decision that affects everyone and the overall health of our people," family physician Dr. James Makokis said. “This is why we encourage our young people who are the most at risk to show up this weekend and get vaccinated. If you’re already vaccinated, bring your unvaccinated friends and join us.”
MacBooks, iPads, $100 gift cards, makeup and PlayStation giveaways will be happening throughout the weekend for those who receive a dose.
All participants will also receive a goodie bag and get to watch a live DJ perform while they eat food offered on-site.
'Vaxxfest' is the second event on Stoney Nakoda First Nation that has used well-known Canadians to encourage vaccination.
In June, Olympians Clara Hughes and Beckie Scott rolled up their sleeves for a similar cause.
Hughes received her second dose during the event, and told CTV News the push was "so special."
Friday's event will be held at the Chiniki Rodeo Grounds on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation. It will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The festivities shift to the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino on Saturday and Sunday.
Vaxxfest will take place there between 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Attendees will be required to keep socially distanced and wear masks.