SUDBURY -- Shkagamik-kwe Health Centre will offer 2,400 COVID-19 vaccines to Indigenous people aged 55 and older on Friday and Saturday.

In all, 13 vaccination stations have been set up at Carmichael Arena in Sudbury and more than 1,000 people have pre-booked their appointment.

“The Indigenous population as a whole has been identified as a high-risk population for vaccinations,” said Angela Recollet, CEO of CEO of Shkagamik-kwe Health Centre.

“The population that we’re serving is the urban Indigenous population, which includes the Métis First Nation and Inuit people.”

Thirteen vaccination sites

“You will have several greeters that will walk you to the parking lot. We have the registration tables where some of our team members will be taking your information and then we have a walkthrough that will take you to one of the 13 vaccination sites.”

Recollet said there are big reasons why the Indigenous population is recognized as a priority population for COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Ontario.

“First Nation, Métis, Inuit people have had far more disparities when it comes to their health outcomes because of lack of access to health services, if they’re in remote fly-in communities, or a neighbouring community," she said. "We sometimes don’t have that same access.

“So we are encouraging everyone to stop the spread of this virus, and encouraging everyone to get the vaccine so that we can move forward, with some hope and peace."

Last week, staff from the health centre watched how Public Health Sudbury & Districts rolled out the mass vaccination clinics for local health care workers.

“This clinic has been designed with specific guidelines being adhered to,” said Recollet.

“The leaders in the background have been so effective in ensuring we are all working together … The folks at Public Health have been phenomenal.”

Recollet expects those getting the vaccine will be in and out of the arena in 30 minutes.

Those who have yet to sign up for a shot are encouraged to do so at Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre’s website or by calling 1-800-708-2505.