Members in the Ulkatcho First Nation and surrounding Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake residents were the first ones in the Cariboo region to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccine was rolled out earlier this week and was available for residents 18 years and older. The first of two doses will be offered to Indigenous elders first, followed by the remainder of Ulkatcho residents. A second dose is required 28 days later.
Mary Williams, a member of the Ulkatcho community, was the first one to receive the vaccine.
“I was so afraid of the virus because my husband has been diagnosed with cancer awhile back and every time I went someplace out of the ordinary when I am coming home I always think, am I bringing the virus home to him, and it was just a living hell, it was just terrible.”
Williams said that now she has the first dose of the vaccine, she feels much better.
“I feel like a lot of weight has been lifted off my shoulder now,” she said. “I feel a lot better, knowing that I am the one that’s going to bring it home anymore. If I did bring it home, I don’t know if I could live with myself.”
Anahim Lake is one of 10 rural and remote Indigenous communities across the province that received the Moderna vaccine this week.
Williams added that she hopes that everyone that can take the vaccine will.
“Hope that everybody would take it, then we don’t have to wear masks,” she said, “I want things to get back to normal, and I want everybody to be healthy again and look out for your family members.”
The Moderna vaccine is one of two approved by Health Canada in the fight against COVID-19, and is better for rural and remote communities as it does not require ultra-cold storage.