These FAQs contain up-to-date information for distribution of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution.
How does the Tribe receive the COVID-19 Vaccines?
The Stockbridge-Munsee Community (Tribe) agreed to partner with Indian Health Services (I.H.S.) to receive COVID-19 Vaccines. The Tribe authorized a COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Priorities and Plan in December of 2020 and continues to update and revise this plan as conditions and information about COVID-19 and the vaccines develop.
How does the distribution plan for COVID-19 vaccination work?
The distribution plan uses a phased approach for vaccine distribution based on the amount of vaccine available and prioritized need for the vaccine. There are four phases:
Phase 1-A and 1-B is the initial distribution when there are limited supplies.
Phase 2 is when there are larger supplies of the vaccines.
Phase 3 is when there are supplies enough for the entire U.S. population.
Phase 1-A includes populations that have the highest priority for vaccinations. This includes healthcare personnel who provide direct care, as well as cleaning/maintenance staff with responsibilities in patient areas at the Health Center, Tribal EMS personnel, Ella Besaw Center residents and employees and Occupational Health employees.
Phase 1-B expands vaccination to other Essential Populations that the Tribe identified in its distribution plan. These Essential Populations are persons at higher risk of contracting severe COVID- 19, including people in long-term care facilities, people with multiple health risk factors, and people who are age 65 and older. The Essential Populations also include workers in certain essential jobs.
Vaccination within these groups is prioritized with persons that are older and have multiple risk factors vaccinated earlier. Initial rounds of vaccination are allocated with 80% of the vaccine going to Essential Populations of people at risk and 20% going to vaccination of essential workers. Once the identified essential workers are vaccinated, 100% of the vaccine supply will go to vaccination of the remaining Essential Populations.
The following diseases are considered risk factors for severe COVID-19: Lung disease, including chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis, and moderate to severe asthma; Heart disease, including heart failure, coronary artery disease, and hypertension; Chronic kidney disease; Chronic liver disease; HIV; Transplant of any sort; Any sort of cancer excluding skin cancer; Diabetes; and Obesity (BMI equal or greater than 30).
Phase 2 will begin with vaccination of any persons who are part of the Essential Populations want to be vaccinated yet have not yet been vaccinated and then move to Critical Populations. The Tribe has identified the following Critical Populations for vaccination: Stockbridge-Munsee tribal members; the households of tribal members; Indian Health Service beneficiaries who are active patients at the Health Center; and tribal employees.
For vaccination of tribal employees, the Tribe is prioritizing vaccination of employees who provide critical services that are necessary for operations to continue and employees who work with the public daily or frequently.
Vaccine supply is adequate to serve all people who want vaccination. However, distribution will remain prioritized based on Essential Populations and then Critical Populations. Once Essential and Critical Populations are served, then vaccination will be available to any other patients served through the Health Center and the general public.
Which COVID vaccines are available?
Vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and by Moderna are available. Large studies of these two vaccines have been completed. Initial results of studies of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines show that both vaccines decreased the risk of getting sick with COVID-19 by about 95%. Other vaccines are still in the review and approval stages.
The Tribe is vaccinating people based on its priority plan using which ever vaccine is available at that time. You will be informed which vaccine you are receiving at the time of vaccination.
How many doses of the COVID vaccine are needed and how far apart?
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both require 2 doses. The Pfizer vaccine doses are administered 3 weeks apart and the Moderna vaccine doses are administered 4 weeks apart. People need to receive both doses to be considered vaccinated.
What are the side effects of these vaccines?
In the Pfizer and Moderna studies, the most common side effects included soreness, redness, or swelling around the injection site, fatigue, body aches, or headache. These are similar side effects to the flu shot. There were no serious adverse events in these studies. And these studies included people of different ages and races.
Are the vaccines safe?
Yes. There were no serious adverse side effects reported in the 75,000 participants in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine studies. So, even if you are one of the first people to get the vaccine in this community, there have been many generous people who have been a part of testing the vaccine before it came to us.
Can the vaccines cause COVID-19? How do they work?
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not contain the whole virus, so they cannot cause COVID-19. The vaccines consist of small chopped up parts of the virus. When your body sees these small parts of the virus, it makes fighter anti-bodies that attack COVID if it gets in your system later.
I am not sure if I should get the vaccine, who should I contact?
If you have questions about whether you should get the vaccine, contact the Stockbridge-Munsee Health and Wellness Center at 715-793-5087. Our providers can help answer your questions, so you are prepared when the vaccine becomes available to you.