A wellness story in which a Montana First Nation held COVID-19 vaccination clinics at the Canada-U.S. Border in southwestern Alberta has come to an end.
The Blackfeet Tribe, 150 kilometers south of Lethbridge, began donating photos of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna at the Carway border crossing a month ago. Initially it was offered to members of the Blackfoot Confederacy, but it was later opened to anyone who wanted it.
The proposal received approval from the tribal administration and the governments of Canada and the United States to locate the mobile clinic on the United States side of the border.
Canadians who attended the clinic were granted exemptions from quarantine for 14 days. They lined up in their cars, drove a loop, received their shots from the window, were watched for 15 minutes, and drove home.
But an official from the Blackfeet tribe in Browning, MT, told the Canadian Press late Saturday that clinics were over.
“I am very sad and disappointed to report that we are unable to continue our vaccination clinics at the border due to government bureaucracy on both sides. Apparently, crossing the border to receive a vaccine is not essential. Go figure it out, ”said James McNeely.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said last week that Canadians attempting to cross the U.S. border only to be vaccinated against COVID-19, even with a doctor’s recommendation, would be denied entry.
The Public Health Agency of Canada also clarified that Canadians traveling to the United States for the purpose of being vaccinated are not exempt from a 14-day quarantine upon their return and that vaccines are now ” widely available ”here.
McNeely said 1,350 doses had been administered at three clinics the tribe had held over the past month. Another clinic this week to give people their second injection has now been canceled.
“It was a great program and it saves lives. Isn’t that what it is? We’ve had a glut of vaccines and, as our health director said, it would be a sin to waste vaccines, ”McNeely said.
“It was becoming an international trend along the northern states to help get people vaccinated. I implore our governments to reconsider the border vaccination clinics in the northern United States to help save lives and vaccinate our Canadian neighbors, ”he added.
The popularity of Alberta border clinics has led to queues of up to two kilometers. Many have come from as far away as Calgary due to the frustration of delays in getting a second shot.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on May 24, 2021.
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