‘Looking Forward To It’: Top BC First Nations Doctor On Why She’s Excited To Get The Vaccine

Dr. Nadine Caron says we can win the fight against COVID.

Dr. Nadine Caron is no stranger to making history. She was the first woman of First Nations descent to become a general surgeon in Canada. And now she thinks we’re on the cusp of another historical event: the moment when enough of us get vaccinated that this awful pandemic finally comes to an end.

“Despite everything we’ve given up, sometimes COVID seems like it’s winning,” Dr. Caron said in a new Facebook video from the First Nations Health Authority. “I myself am excited to get the vaccine.”

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Caron, who was born in Kamloops to an Ojibwe mother, was the first female First Nations student to graduate from the University of British Columbia’s medical school. She later got a degree from Harvard in public health and is currently a FNHA chair in cancer and wellness at UBC. 

Dr. Caron has seen firsthand a medical province in the system that independent observers say is sometimes prejudiced against First Nations people–the recent allegations against Kitimat General Hospital are just one example. 

Caron knows that there is a terrible history of medical people mistreating First Nations across the province and the country. She gets why Indigenous people overall may be more likely than other people in Canada to question whether the vaccines are safe and effective.    

“I completely understand the questions being asked the hesitancy,” Dr. Caron said. “But at the same time while i share some of the concerns…the [vaccine] rollout I think is being done with incredible caution and expertise.”

She adds, “I support it and I’m just waiting my turn, really looking forward to it.” When enough of us get vaccinated, she predicts life will go back to normal. 

The part Dr. Caron is looking forward to? Not being worried all the time. “Perhaps fear of COVID itself is something we can overcome by arming ourselves, by putting it in our arm and getting that shot,” she said. 

Written by Skeena Strong

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