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First Nations, Inuit & Métis Perspectives and Knowledge Sharing on COVID-19 Vaccines

First Nations, Inuit & Métis Perspectives & Knowledge Sharing on COVID-19 Vaccines

Unpacking biomedicine, traditional knowledges and healing practices through oral storytelling and visualizations to support First Nations, Inuit and Métis in making informed choices.

A community-led initiative designed to provide timely, accurate, trauma-informed, and culturally relevant information about medical concepts related to available COVID-19 vaccinations, with the explicit aim of empowering informed consent and decision-making of First Nations, Inuit and Métis living in urban and related homelands. We strive to provide resources that recognize and respect Indigenous worldviews and cultural practices while upholding Indigenous knowledge translation principles and standards. Read more in UHN News.

Additional resources and new Fireside Chats covering a variety of topics will be released weekly. Check this page regularly for updates!

Knowledge is Medicine. Love is Medicine. Storytelling is Medicine.
Kinship is Medicine.

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Where to Get Vaccinated:

Call Auntie Hotline
Contact the Call Auntie hotline at 437 703 8703 if you need support navigating your vaccine options. Or visit the Tkaronto Indigenous Vaccine Access website for further resources.

Your Rights and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Unpacking biomedicine, traditional knowledges and healing practices through oral storytelling and visualizations to support First Nations, Inuit and Métis in making informed choices.

Your physical, emotional, spiritual and mental well-being matter.

The experiences you have had with the health care system or other institutions can affect how you feel about COVID-19 vaccinations and accessing health care.

It is important that your health care team treats you with dignity and respect.

You have rights when it comes to making decisions about your well-being and health care, including deciding on receiving the COVID-19 vaccination or not.

As a patient, you have the right to:

  • Receive health care services without discrimination
  • You have the right to high-quality, culturally safe and timely care in an environment where you feel safe and respected by the staff.
  • You have the right to practice your culture and customs.
  • You have the right to practice, develop and teach your cultural and spiritual traditions, customs and ceremonies. This includes your right to use traditional medicines, ceremonial objects and practices to maintain your well-being and health.

Right to choices about COVID-19 vaccinations

  • You have the right to participate in decisions about your health care, including COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Part of making a choice to get vaccinated for yourself or your family might involve:
    • exploring all of the options available to you to ensure that you make the right choice for you.
    • asking questions and expressing your feelings about COVID-19 vaccinations.

Your health care team is responsible for

  • Answering your questions and clearly explaining how COVID-19 vaccinations work in a respectful way that you understand.

Right to privacy about COVID-19 care and vaccinations

  • You have the right to choose who you share your health and wellness information with (eg. family members, friends and health care workers).
  • Any questions about COVID-19 that you discuss in consultation with a health care practitioner are private and confidential.

Vaccine Hesitation & Benefits of Getting Vaccinated

What is COVID-19 "vaccine hesitancy"?

The term "vaccine hesitancy" is used in health care to describe an individual's uncertainty or unwillingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

It is always your right to refuse or give consent (unless legally required) for any medical procedure like the COVID-19 vaccination, and;

It is your right to be informed of the consequences of refusal or acceptance.

Vaccine Hesitancy Fireside Chat with:

Waneek Horn-Miller, Mohawk Olympian, Mother & Motivator
Dr. Ojistoh Horn, Bear Clan, Family Physician from Kahnawake, working in Akwesasne
Kahentinetha Horn, Otiskareh:Wakeh — Spitting Bear Clan, Kahnawake
Leonard Benoit, Qalipu Mi'kmaq, Wolf clan, Indigenous Patient Navigator (Toronto Regional Cancer Program)

Covid-19 Vaccine Ingredients and Side Effects

After you've made your decision about receiving the vaccine, you will be asked to sign a consent form. You will be provided with product information with details about the vaccine, including ingredients (see more about ingredients on the infographic below).

Common Questions You May Have

Do these vaccines include mercury?

There is no mercury or other ingredients such as formaldehyde or aluminum or fetal cells in the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have allergies?

If you have had a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction to any ingredient in the vaccine, then you should not receive it.

Read our full allergy information in our Medical and Safety FAQ »

What to Expect After Vaccination

  • At the site where the vaccine enters your body, it is common to experience soreness in the muscle, redness and/or mild swelling.
  • Overall, you may experience fever, chills, tiredness or a headache.
  • Physical responses will likely amplify after the second dose.
  • You may feel relief or another emotion as COVID-19 has taken its toll on our world.
  • Some people may not experience any side effects at all.
  • More adults aged 18-64 reported side effects than those aged 65+.

​Intersections between Biomedicine and Traditional Knowledges & Medicines

Take charge of your immunity

Our good friend Scout from is sharing some amazing strategies to protect ourselves during the pandemic. What works for you? Is is making a cup of sweet cedar tea? Drumming? Going for a walk?

Protecting our Immunity

Feel confident that you are protecting your immune functions with Scout the Porcupine! Walk with us through a combination of traditional and western methods to feel at your best.

Protecting our Immunity

We can all learn a thing or two from Porcupine, especially on protection. Embrace the wisdom of Porcupine by taking a preventative approach to protecting our immunity.

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