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Lower Kootenay Band to host cross-border COVID-19 vaccine clinic

Yaqan NuɁkiy (Lower Kootenay Band) will partner with a number of organizations in the U.S. to hold a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic on June 21st.

The clinic will be made possible with the joint efforts of Yaqan NuɁkiy, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Canadian Border Services Agency, Representatives of the State of Idaho, the United States National Guard and the Ktunaxa Nation Council.

Jason Louie, Nasuʔkin (Chief) of Yaqan NuɁkiy said the clinic will help speed up local vaccine rollout.

“We approached the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, which is outside of Bonners Ferry, for any excess doses which came from the State of Idaho. We just want to help get people vaccinated,” said Louie. “If someone has already received their first vaccine and more than 28 days have passed, they can come in for their second dose.”

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Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be available to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who attend the one-day clinic.

Attendees are asked to meet at the Yaqan NuɁkiy office at 830 Simon Road in Creston to be transported by bus to Porthill Border Crossing.

“We will have registered nurses on the busses that will be travelling to Porthill,” explained Louie. “There is a very important document that will be needed and will be posted on the Ktunaxa Nation website. That is what you need to bring to the border that will exempt you from a 14-day mandatory quarantine. What it is, in essence, is a referral from a medical professional saying it’s essential that you get the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Nurses will monitor those who have received the vaccine for a minimum of 15 minutes after they get their dose on the way back to Yaqan NuɁkiy.

Louie asks that attendees download the necessary document and have it filled out prior to meeting at the office.

The service will be free to all who attend. To register, you can contact (250) 428-6967 before 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 16th.

Louis said the date chosen for the clinic, National Indigenous Peoples Day, was not a coincidence.

“We welcomed the settlers into this land. Some of them were starving, some of them were dying. It’s taught through our culture and traditions that we help all of humanity,” said Louie. “We thought that, by doing this on Indigenous Peoples Day, it’ll truly showcase the spirit of the Ktunaxa people.”

More: Ktunaxa Nation website

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