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TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Seeking to increase the number of vaccinated tribal government employees, the Cherokee Nation is offering a $300 incentive to those who get vaccinated.

An executive order signed by Cherokee Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin goes into effect May 25 that provides a vaccine reward and incentive program for the 4,300 Cherokee Nation government employees.

“Currently about 40 percent of our Cherokee Nation employee base is vaccinated and we know we need that figure to increase to 70 percent to reach herd immunity,” Chief Hoskin said. “Raising awareness, offering an incentive program and setting a goal for achievement is another way to help increase our immunity percentage so we can continue to help protect our tribe, workplace, Cherokee speakers, language and elders from Covid-19.”

Herd immunity can be reached when enough people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 and have developed protective antibodies against future infection.

New employees and those in job training programs will be required to be fully vaccinated within 45 days under the executive order. Current employees are encouraged to be vaccinated, and those not vaccinated will be restricted from work travel on behalf of the Cherokee Nation.

The Cherokee Nation will issue the $300 incentives in June to those Cherokee Nation government employees getting a vaccine and all those formerly vaccinated. The executive order on the vaccine reward and incentive program will continue through the end of calendar year 2021.

The executive order does not apply to Cherokee Nation Businesses or any other entities. However, all Cherokee Nation entities may develop plans and implement a comparable reward and incentive program for their respective workforces.

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