This article is one in a series of real life stories from Indigenous
VaxChamps who have shared their reasons for getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
In his day job, Wilf Junior Plasway is known as the friendly face at reception for Carrier Sekani Family Services in Burns Lake. However, his dream job is becoming the first verified northern BC Indigenous TikTok star.
He attributes this inspiration to Kiefer Collison, who worked with the FNHA as a VaxChamp ambassador in October and November. It was on TikTok, where
Wilf has his own following (@will_plasway) of over 4,400 people, that he saw Kiefer's videos encouraging Indigenous people in BC to get vaccinated and post their reasons on the
“That's what made me decide to take this #VaxChamp challenge, because of him," said Wilf. “I was just so happy to see his TikToks and I decided I wanted to take a shot and see if I could take part and show everyone that northern BC is all up for taking the vaccine."
He and his colleagues had watched Big Brother Canada and enjoyed seeing Kiefer's rise in popularity on the show. Wilf decided to
share his own photo and story on the VaxChamp page.
“I was just so happy that we have an Indigenous person on Big Brother," he said. “Now I'm so proud to see that he's expanding on TikTok."
There were many reasons that the member of the Lake Babine Nation wanted to get the vaccine. Above all, he wanted to protect his parents, with whom he still lives (happily).
Wilf said he was never vaccine hesitant but felt that people like his parents and other Elders should get vaccinated first. However, after watching Internet videos about the dangers of COVID-19, it “scared him" into getting the shot himself.
“I just decided to go for it because it would not only protect me but also my parents."
Wilf said that despite an overall strong acceptance of the vaccines, there are still people in his Nation who are not convinced. He cited instances of people in his community sharing misinformation on Facebook and saying that they won't accept COVID-19 vaccines as a result.
This worries Wilf, as his community has not been left unscathed by the pandemic. Several Elders have passed away, as well as one of his former high school classmates. Nearby, in Witset First Nation, he said two hereditary chiefs have also died due to COVID-19.
According to vaccination statistics collected by the FNHA, as of Nov. 28, 2021, four out of every five status and status eligible First Nations people in BC have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In some areas of BC, however, first-dose uptake among First Nations people is as low as 47 per cent.
Wilf suggests that some of this has to do with people not wanting the government to tell them what to do. However, he has a message for those people.
“I know all of us want to go back to normal and not wear these masks and go back to those gatherings. It is stressful and I do understand all the people that are doing these protests about wanting freedom. But if we want freedom we need to all join together as one and get vaccinated. We also need to protect our Elders, as they're the knowledge holders. So we all need them to be here with us and need to keep them safe."
Do you need to get vaccinated?
It's important that people age five and older get their first and second doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as
boosters when they are offered.
To register for a vaccine clinic, visit:
For more information about COVID-19 vaccines see:
An Indigenous Paramedic on the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Girl, Interrupted: Becoming an Adult During the COVID-19 Pandemic