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TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — More than 65,200 Covid-19 vaccines have administered by Cherokee Nation Health Services since December 2020. On Friday, Cherokee Nation Health Services announced 70 percent of active Cherokee Nation government employees have been fully vaccinated for the deadly disease.

“The 70 percent active employee vaccination achievement means we have a better chance at protecting our Cherokee Nation citizens,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “It remains the Cherokee Nation’s goal to vaccinate as many people as possible across the reservation, especially as we see growing concerns about new variants and the accompanying increase in positive cases and hospitalizations. We will adjust our approach according to CDC recommendations and advice of our medical experts as we continue to rely on science, facts and compassion. Meanwhile, we ask everyone to act responsibility for themselves and their neighbors. I’m proud of the efforts of our Cherokee Nation employees for taking steps to ensure the safety of the people they serve as well as themselves.”

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The high rate of vaccinations among employees is the result of efficient and effective actions by Cherokee Nation health care staff, according to tribal officials. When the tribe’s first Covid-19 vaccines were available, Cherokee Nation Health Services employees and Cherokee first-language speakers were given priority. In addition to swift action of healthcare staff, Cherokee Nation employees were also provided paid administrative leave to receive the vaccine.

Cherokee Nation employees have been vaccinated at a rate nearly twice that of the counties in Oklahoma. Across the country, many communities are attempting to reach "herd immunity," a status that can be achieved when enough people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 and developed protective antibodies against future infection. The goal to achieve this among Cherokee Nation government employees was 70 percent. 

Chief Hoskin signed an executive order, which went in effective on May 25, 2021, encouraging more than 4,200 government employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and providing a $300 incentive program. Cherokee Nation entities including Cherokee Nation Businesses are offering similar incentives under the order.

Vaccinations are available at every Cherokee Nation outpatient health center. To learn more or schedule an appointment call 539-234-4099.

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The Native News Health Desk is made possible by a generous grant from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation as well as sponsorship support from the American Dental Association. This grant funding and sponsorship support have no effect on editorial consideration in Native News Online. 
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