More 1st shot vaccine clinics open in northeast Calgary

Four more outreach clinics are opening this weekend to increase the number of people getting vaccinated against COVID-19 in northeast Calgary.

The quadrant has consistently had the highest active case numbers of COVID in Alberta and also the lowest uptake when it comes to vaccinations.

Many people in that part of the city are newcomers to Canada, working multiple jobs and facing language, financial and cultural barriers. Access to technology is another issue. These obstacles can make getting vaccinated much more of a challenge.

The walk-in clinics will operate on a no-appointment basis to make it as easy as possible.

The clinics are a partnership between the provincial government and local groups and social agencies like the Calgary East Zone Newcomers Collaborative, ActionDignity and the Calgary African Community Collective.

They are being held at the Baitun Nur Mosque and Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre on Friday, at the Somali Canadian Society of Calgary on Saturday and the Dashmesh Culture Centre on Sunday.

Anyone born in 2009 or earlier is eligible for a shot.

“One of the major obstacles is making an appointment online,” said Jabril Ali with the Somali community. “That discouraged most people.”

Ali hopes around 240 people will receive the vaccine at the Somali Canadian Society of Calgary on Saturday between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. 

“We’re just trying to make it as easy as possible. There are language barriers and newcomers don’t receive much information and they often don’t understand it,” said Ali.

On Sunday, members of the Sikh community and others can get their first shots of vaccine at the Dashmesh Culture Centre between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

‘The whole goal is to help each other and then we can go back to normal,’ says Amanpreet Singh Gill, president of the Dashmesh Culture Centre. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

“It’s very critical that we get everyone that needs it the vaccine,” said Amanpreet Singh Gill, president of the Dashmesh Culture Centre.

“We’re educating people regarding the vaccine, especially those who don’t understand the importance,” said Gill.

“The whole goal is to help each other and then we can go back to normal,” said Gill.

Gill says the community is working together to educate one another and make sure as many people as possible get the vaccine.

“If we get everybody vaccinated, then we can restart our regular activities,” said Naeem Chaudhry with the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.

Ahmadiyya Muslims can get their shot at Baitun Nur Mosque between 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday.

“People are educated and there are a large number who already have their first dose. Since the appointment is not available very soon, this vaccination clinic will help,” said Chaudhry.

The clinic being held at the Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre takes place on Friday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

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