The people of Ehattesaht are breathing a sigh of relief after wrapping up their second COVID-19 immunization clinic that saw a majority of their adults receiving their second and final shot of vaccine.
Darlene Smith of Ehattesaht said that their small community of 100 saw 28 cases of COVID-19, beginning in November. The outbreak caused concern for the ones that became very ill, but none required hospitalization and all eventually recovered.
On Feb. 16 a team of four NTC nurses and a local nurse from Zeballos set up a vaccination clinic for those who had already received the first shot.
The clinic was set up for the people of Ehattesaht and Nuchatlaht. According to Smith, some adults over the age of 18 declined the vaccination, leaving extra doses of vaccine.
As in the first clinic, extra doses of vaccine were offered to Zeballos residents who interact on a regular basis with the people of Ehattesaht. Extra doses of vaccine were offered to health workers, school staff, volunteer firefighters and others that provide services to Ehattesaht.
Smith said she was relieved to have people in the community vaccinated.
“The process is over. Now we just need our people living away from home to get it,” said Smith of the inoculation.
She went on to say that there is a little bit of relief knowing her people are fully vaccinated, but she pointed out that people who have had COVID-19 before can get it again.
“But now that they are vaccinated, if they were to contract COVID-19 again, they should not get as sick,” she said.
In Ahousaht, Chief Councillor Greg Louie said that a team of six NTC nurses and a paramedic came to the village to administer second vaccine shots. Ahousaht has a population of about 1,000 people.
In both Ehattesaht and Ahousaht, the second set of vaccination clinics were only for those who received first shots. Those that missed first rounds of vaccine could not get shots at these follow-up clinics. In addition, the vaccine was offered to residents only, meaning that band members couldn’t travel from urban areas to get the shot.
Louie said that nurses would be making home visits to residents with mobility challenges.
On Feb. 22 more than 170 Ahousaht residents received their second Moderna shots. More than 500 doses of vaccine went to Ahousaht in January for the first round of vaccinations. Not all doses were used but were offered up to other communities.
The three-day immunization clinic scheduled for Ahousaht had to be delayed after the first day due to a funeral. The vaccination clinic is set to resume for two additional days on Feb. 24.