SASKATOON -- Marie Gomez, who works at the Saskatoon Open Door Society (SODS), said that around 80 per cent of new Canadians they have helped have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Global Gathering Place (GGP) and the SODS have paired up to provide vaccine clinics to their clients, also working with the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

The first clinic was held in April of this year, with others planned for May 16 and June 6.

Gomez said they are also scheduling doctors’ appointments with clients to get a check-up and have the doctor explain the vaccine and why they should get it.

Seeing the number of people willing to get the shot is positive news, she said.

“For us its very important because we work so hard, every morning every day. We encourage them to take any (vaccine) because it is very important that they are protected. All of us at Open Door, we took any vaccine available, and they see us doing it and they’ll do it because we don’t have side effects.”

Gomez said its very important for new Canadians to receive the vaccine as their immune systems needs time to acclimate to their new situation.

“They are vulnerable. When they come from another country they don’t have the same immune system as many Canadians,” Gomez said.

The GGP offers translators and booklets in different languages to help newcomers understand the vaccine and why they should take it.

“We wanted to make sure that the clients that we serve, who are new refugees and immigrants to Saskatoon have a place to go to get the information they need in their native language,” health and case coordination team lead Melanie Baerg said.

“We also feel that having a place to go, such as the Global Gathering Place, is really important as well. It’s a place that our clients already trust and are more likely to go to and get the vaccine.”