Native American Tribes Begin To Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Shipments


Monday, December 14th 2020, 10:16 pm
By: Kristen Weaver


As hospitals and nursing homes distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, we're getting a look at how tribes are also getting ready to give the vaccine to their members. 

The Cherokee Nation already has nearly 1,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in its hands.

"Today we have 975 doses, tomorrow 7 a.m. our frontline workers will get this vaccine," said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.

Chief Hoskin Jr. said along with frontline workers, they're also prioritizing their elders and native language speakers.

"I fully believe in this vaccine, and when it's my turn to take it I’m 100 percent going to take it," he said.

Chief Hoskin Jr. said they have cold storage in place for the vaccine and are ready to expand to their other clinics once more doses arrive. The first doses will be in Tahlequah at their headquarters.

"What a time in 2020, for the United States and Cherokee Nation to work together to saves lives," Hoskin said.

The vaccines are being distributed to the tribes by the federal Indian Health Service.

The Osage Nation will get its first 40 doses on Wednesday.

"COVID-19 is a risk and people can die from it," said Dr. Ronald Shaw. "So far nobody is in the hospital from the vaccine."

Dr. Ronald Shaw, the Chief Medical Officer at Osage Nation, said frontline workers and long-term care facilities are at the top of their list, along with tribal leaders and elders.

"I plan to receive it on Wednesday, I'm in a priority group," Shaw said. "I'm told most elected leaders also have volunteered to receive the vaccine."

The Muscogee Creek Nation said it will also get the vaccine on Wednesday and going to frontline workers first.

You can find more information about the distribution plan for the COVID-19 vaccine for tribes in Green Country on the Cherokee Nation website, the Osage Nation website, and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation website.