TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation is now offering the Pfizer Pediatric COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 5-11 at all its tribal health center locations.
This week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices approved a revised and expanded FDA Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer vaccine to allow immunization of children ages 5-11.
The tribe received its first shipment of pediatric vaccine this week and currently has 1,200 doses available.
“Getting our Cherokee children vaccinated will better protect our families and tribal communities from the spread of this virus,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “By vaccinating everyone in the household, elders to children, we not only save lives and prevent our hospital from reaching capacity, but we protect our Cherokee language and culture.”
The dose schedule for the pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine requires a series of two doses, with the second dose being administered three weeks after the first. A booster dose is not recommended for children at this time.
“Getting children in this age group vaccinated is essential for protecting environments such as day care and elementary classrooms,” said Cherokee Nation Health Services Executive Director Dr. R. Stephen Jones. “The pediatric vaccine is yet another step towards full protection against this virus and the peace of mind we’ve been hoping for.”
COVID-19 vaccines have been proven safe and effective, according to the CDC.
“The quicker we all get vaccinated the less likely we all need to wear a mask at school, church, and public events. Finally, we have the approval of the COVID vaccine for children and adults, which has proven to be safe and effective and those of us that get vaccinated will be able to more safely gather this holiday season,” said Dr. Dante Perez, chief of pediatrics at Cherokee Nation Health Services. “I am strongly recommending all of our patients and the general pediatric population to get vaccinated.”
Since receiving its first distribution of vaccines in December 2020, the Cherokee Nation has administered more than 85,000 vaccine doses. The Cherokee Nation’s tribal government employees are more than 70 percent vaccinated and Sequoyah Schools nearly 70 percent vaccinated.
Any member of the public including Native and non-Natives, regardless of residency, can receive the vaccines for free from Cherokee Nation Health Services.
Call 1-539-234-4099 to schedule an appointment. Walk-in appointments are also available through Cherokee Nation Health Services health centers.