Hopi Tribe receives first COVID-19 vaccines
KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. — Hopi Health Care Center (HHCC) is scheduled to receive 150 doses of the ultra-cold frozen Pfizer- BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
HHCC is also scheduled to receive 400 doses of the frozen Moderna vaccine as soon as it is available. The Moderna product received apprval late last week.
“We are very happy that the Emergency Use Authorization allows our local Indian Health Service facility to receive a portion of the vaccines, and finally begin the process of preparing our front line healthcare workers with some comfort as we continue to face COVID-19,” said Royce Jenkins, Director of the Department of Health & Human Services and the Hopi Tribe’s Public Health Authority. “We are grateful for the medical professionals and scientist’s working diligently to help develop a cure for this virus that has plagued the world.”
The Moderna vaccine will not require ultracold storage and is expected to have a longer shelf-life.
“We are learning that both vaccines have shown about 95 percent efficacy in preventing disease, both appear to be very safe and both vaccines have been tested in tens of thousands of volunteers across the United States and around the world,” said Hopi Chairman Timothy Nuvangyaoma. “We want to reassure our community that we will push toward getting some much needed relief in fighting this virus, but until we have a vaccine for every single person, we all need to continue to take charge of our own wellbeing.”
According to Jenkins, the tribe still needs to remain vigilant as they fight the virus.
“(This) does not mean we all let our guards down. We need to remind our friends and families that the virus is still active. Remember, we move the virus through transmission from person to person engagement. Staying home is the best defense against COVID-19,” he said.
The 150 doses of Pfizer product and 400 doses of Moderna product are intended for distribution to a total of 550 persons of the Phase 1a population and will be administered through the HHCC. Both vaccines require a second dose, which will be supplied in separate vaccine shipments approximately 3-4 weeks following the initial shipment.
There are several hundred health services personnel on the Hopi reservation who will benefit from taking the vaccine. Many Hopi residents and non-Hopi residents utilize the local IHS unit.
In the meanwhile, community spread of COVID-19 continues throughout the entire reservation.
“The Hopi community needs to pay attention to the guidelines we have provided to our people. We don’t want our healthcare workers to be burdened by unnecessary cases of coronavirus,” Nuvangyaoma said. “It’s important that we all continue to educate one another, help one another, and learn as much as you can about the virus and the vaccines.”
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine does not contain SARS-CoV-2 and cannot give you COVID-
The tribe said it is a personal choice to receive or not receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. If one decides not to receive it, it will not change the individual’s standard medical care.
“We have to be very patient with the vaccine development process,” Jenkins said. “We want everyone to eventually have access to the vaccines. We are committed to promoting public confidence in the safety of the vaccine. I encourage everyone to take the vaccine when it is available widely.”
Information provided by the Hopi Tribe
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