Dennis Sixkiller, a fluent Cherokee speaker and Cherokee National Treasure, was among the first tribal citizens to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as part of the Cherokee Nation's phased distribution plan.
The Cherokee Nation is now scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations for elders 65 and older who are eligible to receive care within Cherokee Nation Health Services.
CNHS began calling patients in this priority phase the week of Jan. 4 to notify elders to schedule their vaccine appointments. Those who do not receive an automated call in the next few days, or who need to establish a new chart with Cherokee Nation Health Services, can call 1-833-528-0063 and select Option 1. Elders should note that the vaccines are given according to the supply on hand.
“With limited supplies of the vaccine, we are administering vaccinations according to the phased distribution plan and making sure our most vulnerable populations, including our health workers, speakers and elders, receive the vaccine first,” said CNHS Executive Director Dr. R. Stephen Jones. “As we receive more vaccines, we will continue vaccinating more groups in the months ahead according to the phases in the distribution plan.”
Since receiving the first distribution of vaccines Dec. 14, the Cherokee Nation has vaccinated approximately 2,000 tribal citizens, including more than 600 fluent Cherokee speakers.
Vaccinations are being administered by appointment only for established Cherokee Nation Health Services patients with a medical chart who fall within Phase 1A or 1B of the tribe’s phased distribution plan.
“It’s important to understand that we are unable to take walk-ins at this time. Scheduling of vaccinations is guided by our vaccine supply and allows us to prepare the right number of vaccines, which must be removed from cold storage at specific times ahead of distribution,” said CNHS Deputy Director of External Operations Brian Hail. “If our supply of the vaccines changes, we will adjust our scheduling and distribution plan appropriately to ensure we make the most of our vaccines and reach as many Cherokees as possible, as quickly as possible.”
Qualifying appointments are being scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, excluding holidays.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, including answers to frequently asked questions, or to find Cherokee Nation Health Service registration forms and the latest updates to the Cherokee Nation COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, visit health.cherokee.org.
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