NAFC launches pediatric vaccine and booster campaign

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OTTAWA, Aug. 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The National Association of Friendship Centers (NAFC) has launched the most recent phase of a series of COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccine information materials by and for indigenous peoples living in urban centers. This comes at a time when many people may be getting booster shots and children are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, especially as a fall wave is expected.

“We are now in the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic and there are still misconceptions and hesitations about the vaccine and about immunization in general,” says Jocelyn Formsma, CEO of the National Association of Friendship Centers. “We want to make sure people have up-to-date and reliable information so they can make the best decisions for themselves, their families and their communities.”

ANCA launched the Take action in COVID last year with the help of health professionals, to share important information about COVID-19 and vaccines with urban Indigenous people. The core of this campaign has been sharing information from trusted sources regarding the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. This phase, the ANCA continues this campaign with the help of pediatricians to inform parents about the safety of the vaccine for children.

“While many children are at low risk of developing serious illness, that’s not guaranteed,” says Dr. Ryan Giroux, a pediatrician at the Auduzhe Clinic, an Indigenous-run clinic in Toronto. “We have seen children infected with the virus develop pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome which is serious, and we know the vaccine can prevent that. This pandemic was unpredictable, we don’t know where it will take us and the best way to protect our children is through vaccination.

“As things open up and there are fewer public protections in place, such as masking and distancing, it is important that we are able to protect ourselves from serious illness and to reduce the spread. This virus still has the ability to seriously affect members of our communities and there is an expected increase in COVID cases this fall, and so it is important that people are made aware of the opportunity to get vaccinated and to do reminders if you are eligible,” says Formsma.

The ANCA encourages people to speak to their healthcare providers and pediatricians if they are unsure about the vaccine. There is also information on the ANCA website as well as locations for Indigenous run vaccination clinics.

About NAFC:
NAFC represents over 100 local Friendship Centers and Provincial/Territorial Associations in every province and territory in Canada (except Prince Edward Island). Friendship Centers are urban Indigenous community hubs that provide a wide range of programs and services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis living in urban, rural and northern communities. Collectively, the Friendship Centers constitute the largest and most comprehensive urban Aboriginal service delivery network in Canada..

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES:

Bridget Bowman
Head of Communications, Policy and Research
bbowman@nafc.ca

NAFC represents over 100 local Friendship Centers and Provincial/Territorial Associations in every province and territory in Canada (except Prince Edward Island). Friendship Centers are urban Indigenous community hubs that provide a wide range of programs and services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis living in urban, rural and northern communities. Collectively, Friendship Centers constitute the largest and most comprehensive Aboriginal urban service delivery network in Canada.

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