The impact of COVID‑19 on vaccine uptake and immunization rates for First Nations people in Alberta
COVID‑19 has negatively impacted Indigenous communities more than others. Ongoing social, racial and systemic inequities due to colonialism have compounded with government and public health measures in response to COVID-19. While there are effective vaccines to prevent and lower COVID‑19 infections, Indigenous peoples have a long and painful history with disease outbreaks, with western medicine and healthcare, including vaccines. To date, we do not know how Indigenous peoples are accepting COVID‑19 vaccines and the pandemic’s influence on other routine immunizations. Using the existing Community Health Immunization Program (CHIP) and Alberta Health data, we will work with First Nations communities to report COVID‑19 and other immunization data for First Nations and Urban Indigenous peoples in Alberta. This includes real-time COVID‑19 immunization rates, as well as other routine immunization patterns for adults and children before, during and after COVID‑19 waves. Also, we will document any cultural-specific practices used to promote COVID‑19 vaccination, to be shared and used to shape future immunization programming for First Nations and Urban Indigenous communities. Our study examining COVID‑19 and other immunizations in First Nations people is timely and important. This work will allow First Nations communities to better understand COVID‑19 vaccine acceptance and how COVID‑19 is influencing routine immunization programs. Taken together, this work will assist in COVID‑19 response and immunization program planning post-pandemic for Indigenous people across Canada. Our strong partnerships with First Nations communities and use of existing data platform (CHIP) will enable the co-design, co-creation of materials, and use of the findings to inform current and future immunization program planning. We will build awareness and share results together.