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WASHINGTON — Tribal leaders will have the opportunity to discuss Covid-19 vaccination planning for distribution and allocation during several conference calls beginning next week in the federal government’s attempt to provide tribal consultation to Indian Country leaders.

While the Covid-19 vaccination is still in the testing staging phase, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations. 

The HHS’ tribal consultation will work through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Indian Health Service (IHS), according to a letter sent to tribal leaders from Eric D. Hargan, deputy secretary of Health and Human Services.

The tribal consultation complements the state planning process that began last week with the publication of the playbook guides Immunization Program Awardees (e.g. state and local jurisdictions with routine immunization programs) in planning and operationalizing their Covid-19 vaccination response.

The ultimate goal of this effort to consult with tribal leaders is to ensure the vaccine is properly delivered to Indian Country once the Covid-19 vaccine is approved and deemed safe to administer.

According to Hargan’s letter, tribal leaders will be asked their preference for how a Covid-19 vaccine is distributed to their communities, whether through state and local jurisdictions, or through IHS and how they can support this effort.

Tribal leaders will have several forums to discuss vaccination planning for distribution and allocation, including the following national and regional conference calls:

  • September 28, 2020; 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET: HHS Regions 1, 2, 3, 4
      •    Dial-In: (415) 527-5035; Passcode: 199 433 5800 
  • September 28, 2020; 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM ET: HHS Region 5
      •   Dial-In: (415) 527-5035; Passcode: 199 237 2009 
  • September 29, 2020; 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET: HHS Regions 6
      •     Dial-In: (415) 527-5035; Passcode: 199 978 7009
  •  September 29, 2020; 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM ET: HHS Regions 7, 8
      •    Dial-In: (415) 527-5035; Passcode: 199 692 6624
  • October 1, 2020; 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET: HHS Region 9
      •     Dial-In: (415) 527-5035; Passcode: 199 650 2728
  • October 1, 2020; 4:00 – 5:00 PM ET, HHS Region 10
      •    Dial-In: (415) 527-5035; Passcode: 199 442 6687

In addition to feedback during conference calls, tribal leaders can provide input and recommendations in writing by submitting comments to [email protected].  

The deadline for written comments on this tribal consultation is Friday, Oct. 9, 2020.

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