COVID-19 Support Resources

Please click the ‘+’ sign beside the headers below to expand the information for each section.
Please sign up here if you are interested in receiving information on COVID-19 vaccines for Indigenous people living in urban areas and away from home (Inuit, Métis, and First Nation People who are not living on a reserve they hold membership with).
*Updates on BC Friendship Centre COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics Coming Soon*
COVID-19 Vaccines Communication Tool Kit for Indigenous Communities
Vaccine Eligibility (BC Centre for Disease Control)
COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions (ImmunizeBC)
BC’s plan for vaccine distribution (BC Centre for Disease Control)
What You Need to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine (First Nations Health Authority)
The Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines Poster (First Nations Health Authority)
CANImmunize App CANImmunize is a free digital tool for Canadians that securely stores your vaccination records and helps you get vaccinated on time.
Youth & COVID-19 (FNHA)—Youth-focused resources for health and wellness
Youth & Young Adults COVID-19 (Ministry of Children and Family Development)—Feb 2021 Update on MCFD Temporary Support Measures
Mindful Mondays—Morning wellness webinars (First Nations Public Service Secretariat)
Alcoholics Anonymous Online Intergroup
Connecting online during physical distancing
Virtual Mental Health Supports:
A number of treatment facilities across BC are currently offering emotional and cultural supports online and over the phone. These services are free and are available to all Indigenous people in BC:
  • Carrier Sekani Family Services Call: 250-567-2900 and ask for an ARP Team
  • Kackaamin Family Development Centre Call: 250-723-7789 or Toll-free: 1-833-205-6946
  • Namgis Treatment Centre Call: 250-974-8015
  • Nenqayni Wellness Centre Call: 250-989-0301
  • North Wind Wellness Centre Call: 250-843-6977 or Toll-free: 1-888-698-4333
  • Telmexw Awtexw (Sts’ailes First Nations) Call: 604-796-9829
  • Tsow Tun Le Lum Call: 250-268-2463 or Toll-free: 1-888-590-3123
  • Wilp Si’Satxw Healing Centre Call: 778-202-0162 or 778-202-1349
We’ve compiled answers to some of the common questions about COVID-19.
Answers are a combination of the resources listed on this page which have been informed by experts, please click the reference links to visit the direct resources and read more. We will continue to add to this list.
BC Centre for Disease Control:
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses found mostly in animals. In humans, they can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The disease caused by the new coronavirus has been named COVID-19.
COVID-19 was first identified in late 2019. It was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020. 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
While COVID-19 and flu viruses are thought to spread in similar ways, COVID-19 is more contagious among certain populations and age groups than flu. Also, COVID-19 has been observed to have more superspreading events than flu. This means the virus that causes COVID-19 can quickly and easily spread to a lot of people and result in continuous spreading among people as time progresses.
BC Centre for Disease Control:
Vaccines are products that produce immunity to a specific disease like COVID-19. When you are immune to COVID-19 that means you can be exposed to it without becoming sick or if you do become infected, it prevents more severe illness.
Vaccines save lives. Vaccines don’t just protect the people getting vaccinated; they protect everyone around them too. The more people in a community who are vaccinated and therefore protected from COVID-19, the harder it is for it to spread.
The first COVID-19 vaccines to be approved in Canada are the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines.
These vaccines work by delivering the genetic instructions from the virus that causes COVID-19 to our own cells so we produce the spike protein of the virus; this protein then stimulates our own body’s immune response. Several types of vaccines are being developed. Other vaccines contain parts of the protein itself or use inactivated virus to stimulate the immune response.
BC Centre for Disease Control:
Vaccines work by teaching your body’s immune system to remember and recognize a virus. Your body can then defend you if you are exposed in the future.
Most existing vaccines work by delivering part of the virus, or a weakened or dead form of the virus, to create an immune response. This teaches your body to recognize the virus. If you are exposed, your body will know how to fight that virus. Some of the vaccines developed for COVID-19 use this type of technology. Learn more from ImmunizeBC’s How Vaccines Work.
The two vaccines being used in Canada at this time are called mRNA vaccines. They use genetic instructions from the virus, called RNA, and put it into the body in a particle. Your body will turn the RNA into a protein from the virus. These proteins will create an immune response. They teach your body how to recognize and fight future infections.
CTV News interview with Dr. Anna Banerji, infectious diseases pediatrics at the University of Toronto:
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine approved in Canada is currently only available for Canadians ages 16 and older. The reason for this caveat is simple and involves two main factors: children are less impacted by the disease and clinical trials are prioritizing adults.
BC Centre for Disease Control:
There is good evidence that in the short term, one dose of the vaccine provides very high protection that lasts for weeks. A second dose ensures stronger and longer lasting protection.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
CDC is continuing to investigate the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Scientists also are working to learn about new variants of the virus. More studies are needed to understand how new variants may affect the effectiveness of existing COVID-19 vaccines.
Our knowledge of the characteristics of new variants is rapidly growing. CDC will share updates as soon as they are available. For more information, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant.html.
The more people who are vaccinated, the more prevention we have against new mutations and strains arising. Read more about the benefits of getting vaccinated here. Including:
  • COVID-19 vaccination will help keep you from getting COVID-19
  • COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection
  • COVID-19 vaccination will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic
Health Canada:
In general, the side effects observed during the clinical trials are similar to what you might have with other vaccines.
The side effects that followed vaccine administration in clinical trials were mild or moderate. They included things like pain at the site of injection, body chills, feeling tired and feeling feverish.
These are common side effects of vaccines and do not pose a risk to health.
As with all vaccines, there’s a chance that there will be a serious side effect, but these are rare. A serious side effect might be something like an allergic reaction. Speak with your health professional about any serious allergies or other health conditions you may have before you receive this vaccine.
Health Canada has conducted a rigorous scientific review of the available medical evidence to assess the safety of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. No major safety concerns have been identified in the data that we reviewed.
BC Centre for Disease Control:
The seven steps in obtaining informed consent:
  • Step 1:  Determine Authority
  • Step 2:  Determine Capability
  • Step 3:  Provide Standard Information
  • Step 4:  Confirm Understanding of Standard Information
  • Step 5:  Provide Opportunity for Questions
  • Step 6:  Confirm Consent
  • Step 7:  Document Consent or Refusal
In actual practice obtaining informed-consent is not a linear process but part of a more fulsome conversation with, and assessment of, the client.
Ministry of Health:
For people who can not give consent, provisions of the Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act (HCCCFAA) authorize a health care provider to act upon consent given on behalf of an adult, representative, or temporary substitute decision maker.
Culturally Safe and Trauma-Informed Practices for Researchers during COVID-19 (First Nations Health Authority and Research Ethics BC):
COVID-19 is currently significantly affecting First Nations communities in BC – and bringing back memories of devastating past pandemics. Learning from history, we know that research with First Nations people and communities requires careful attention. During this time of emergency when many are experiencing uncertainty and stress, it is essential to take a culturally safe, trauma-informed approach to working with First Nations.
Cultural safety is achieved when the research process results in an environment free of racism and discrimination and people feel safe to participate in research. This means respectful engagement, adhering to Nation-based protocols, and recognizing and striving to address power imbalances inherent in research by creating space for First Nations health and healing philosophies and practices to ground projects. Read more here.
Stay connected in whatever way you can: In-person with physical distancing measures in place, by phone, by email, send cards or letters to let your Elders know that you are thinking of them.
Create care packages: Indigenous youth ages 13-30 are eligible for grants up to $1,000 to host a community project through the #IndigenousYouthRise COVID-19 Support Fund (We Matter).
Follow health and safety guidelines to minimize the risk of transmitting COVID-19: This shows our Elders that we care and we are doing all that we can to keep them safe and healthy.
Connect with your local Friendship Centre: Friendship Centres are working to provide outreach to Elders and those most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.