I have to begin my COVID-19 vaccination story by recognizing and thanking the incredible people and healthcare teams of Peguis First Nation, Fisher River Cree Nation, Kinonjeoshtegon First Nation and the RM of Fisher; they have worked tirelessly and have done so much to keep their communities safe throughout the pandemic. In particular, I need to thank Peguis First Nation for the care they’ve given to me and other RCMP officers by providing us with a vaccine, their generosity and compassion was truly touching to all of us and we are so thankful.
As an Indigenous RCMP officer and Detachment Commander for Fisher Branch, I became eligible for the vaccine fairly early and I’m very happy to say I received my first shot in March at the Peguis Multiplex. The setup and organization there was fantastic. Right when I arrived there was clear direction on where to go and what line to be in, and the staff were so professional and organized, keeping everything moving quickly and safely.
My appointment started with a few questions from the nursing staff and then I asked which vaccine I would be receiving. I was told it was the Moderna vaccine, but I would have been comfortable with any of them. After going through the assessment process it didn’t take long at all for me to get my shot, with the whole appointment only taking about thirty minutes and the only side effect I had was a sore arm.
Getting the vaccine is something I was really excited about, not only because it will help protect me but it also helps to protect my family and the communities I so proudly serve. My wife is a registered nurse so she has had her two doses. Our two older boys have had their first dose too, but we also have a 13-year-old daughter who won’t be eligible for some time.
Between all five of us, COVID has definitely been a challenge. Our eldest son’s work has been difficult, my son and daughter went through a complete school shut down early on in the pandemic, and my wife has been dealing with COVID head-on as a nurse ever since the pandemic started.
For me, a big part of what I’ve been working through as an RCMP officer is general anxiety in the community – you really feel it. First there was a lot of fear about the unknown and where the pandemic was heading, and now there’s a certain level of anxiety about the vaccine which I completely understand. I think one of our jobs as role models in the community is to encourage people to do whatever they can to help keep each other safe, and to talk about how vaccinations will help us do that.
That’s actually the one thing I hope we all take away from this experience when it’s all said and done – that we continue to protect each other. When this is over we need to remember the sacrifices we made to keep our communities safe and appreciate all the little things we take for granted.