Fourteen-year-old Zachary Crow receives his first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Cherokee Nation Outpatient Health Center in Tahlequah.
Thursday, May 20, 2021 - The Cherokee Nation is now offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12-15 at all health center locations.
The tribe’s health centers in Tahlequah, Vinita, Muskogee and Sallisaw will offer the vaccine to this age group every weekday, with all other tribal health centers offering the vaccine to ages 12-15 every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
“The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention now recommends everyone 12 years and older should receive a COVID-19 vaccination to help protect against the spread of this virus, which has impacted the Cherokee Nation for more than a year,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “Getting your child vaccinated can help keep your entire family safe and allow your family to be one step closer to returning to the activities we have missed so dearly during the pandemic. Our Cherokee Nation health care experts have studied the science and the facts behind COVID-19 vaccines, and they know that the vaccines are safe and effective.”
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recently approved a revised and expanded FDA Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer vaccine to allow immunization of ages 12 and older.
The dose schedule for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine remains the same, with the vaccine being administered as a series of two doses, with the second dose being administered three weeks after the first.
“Getting everyone vaccinated is paramount in the fight against COVID-19 and we are so grateful for the opportunity to extend protection to this age group,” said Cherokee Nation Health Services Executive Director Dr. R. Stephen Jones. “Only when our communities and everyone in them are fully vaccinated, can we truly have protection from the virus.”
COVID-19 vaccines have been proven safe and effective and have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, including studies in adolescents, according to the CDC. Patients receiving a COVID-19 vaccine cannot get the virus from any COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are excited to offer our children the opportunity to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Dante Perez, chief of pediatrics at Cherokee Nation Health Services. “We are one step closer to reaching herd immunity and the possibility of schools reopening safely in the fall. When they are vaccinated, kids will no longer transmit this disease to their grandparents and elderly family. I have encouraged our pediatricians to talk with parents about the benefits and safety of the vaccine for their children.”
Since receiving its first distribution of vaccines in December 2020, the Cherokee Nation has administered more than 60,000 doses. Any member of the public including Native and non-Natives, regardless of residency, can receive the vaccines from Cherokee Nation Health Services. There is no cost to receive a vaccine.
Call 1-539-234-4099 to schedule an appointment. Walk-in appointments are also now available through Cherokee Nation Health Services health centers.
For more information on the Pfizer vaccine and other COVID-19 resources, visit health.cherokee.org.
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