Latest Update of the COVID-19 Vaccination on the Ft. Berthold

Nyamka Reese, Public Information Officer of the MHA COVID-19 Task Force

On Tuesday, December 21, 2020, The Chief Medical Officer of the Elbwoods Memorial Health Center, Dr. Anita Martin, and Director of the Public Health Department, Marilyn Yellow Bird provided the first official update about the COVID-19 Vaccination on the KMHA 91.3 Radio.  

Below are the frequently asked questions answered by Dr. Martin and Marilyn Yellow Bird:

1. What type of vaccine we will be receiving? How many doses of vaccines will be needed? 

We are receiving Moderna Vaccination from the State. The vaccine is two-dose series. The second dose is required to be received 28 days after the first dose.  

2. When will the COVID-19 vaccination be available in Fort Berthold?

We will be receiving the first pack of the vaccine on Tuesday, December 21, 2020. 

3. What are the considerations on who should get the COVID-19 vaccines first? 

This vaccine is provided by the federal government. CDC established a priority group. The first group receiving the vaccination is first responders, healthcare workers, vaccinators, people who do the testing for COVID-19 on the Ft. Berthold. Including residents of long-term care facilities. We don’t have a long-term care facility in Ft. Berthold so we included Kidney Dialysis Unit (KDU). 

4. Where will the vaccine be distributed?

Right now, the vaccine will be shipped to the Elbowoods Memorial Health Center and the field clinics. In the beginning, we will be vaccinating high-risk groups that have been identified by the CDC. The vaccination will occur at the Elbowoods Clinic. As we get more and more vaccines, we will be moving out and vaccinate more people by setting up clinics like we do the Flu clinic. People can pre-register and we are hoping that we will provide vaccines to the public around early and mid-spring of 2021. 

We would like to distribute the vaccine as safely as possible. Another main location will be at the Northern Lights as the building has bigger space and has close access to the Emergency Management Services which in case anybody has any type of severe reactions, they can be handled safely and in timely manner.   

5. How effective is the COVID-19 Vaccine?

The latest statistics show that the vaccine is 95% effective. After getting the second dose within 28 days, the immunity is 95%. That means 95 out of 100 people get immunity to be able to fight off the virus. 

6. What are the side effects of the vaccine? Should I contact Elbowoods for allergies and side effects? What is the contact information?

Most common side effects of this vaccine are soreness in the injection area, fever, body aches, chills, and exhaustion. We will be more cautious and prepared for people who had severe allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine. We will be prepared for those people and they will be monitored longer. We will be monitoring people 15 minutes after they receive their vaccine. If you have a history of anaphylactic shock, you will be monitored for 30 minutes. The CDC and FDA are monitoring all of those so we will report anyone who has allergic reactions. 

7. Is the vaccine free?

Yes, the vaccine is distributed by the Federal Government. 

8. Will, the vaccine be available for both enrolled and non-enrolled members? Can members live outside of Ft. Berthold receive a vaccine? (e.g. Bismarck & Minot area)

The vaccine is available for both native and non-native residents of the Ft. Berthold Reservation, similar to the Covid public testing. Anyone can receive the vaccine by pre-registering online. 

The vaccine is also available for enrolled members who live outside of the reservation. In the beginning, the priority group will receive it and after that, anyone can get the vaccine. 

9. Should I get the vaccine if I have already contracted COVID-19?

There is some antibody is established for the individuals who got tested positive for the virus. Therefore, we recommend anyone who hasn’t contracted with the COVID-19 to receive vaccination first and we will expand the vaccination for people who tested positive afterwards. 

10. What are the limitations on receiving a vaccine (age, pregnancy, allergy, etc.)?

The Moderna is only eligible for individuals 18 years and older. It’s not approved for pregnant women, although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is recommended that pregnant women can receive the vaccine. We are on the Ft. Berthold is going to follow the recommendations from the FDA, so if you’re pregnant and your obstetrician wants you to receive the vaccine, we will request you to receive it from your obstetrician. If you show any allergic reactions to the first dose, you will not be receiving the second dose.  

11. How long will the COVID-19 vaccine last? Will I have to get another one next year?

At this point, when you receive the 2 doses of the vaccine, you should be good for one year. Just like a flu vaccine, it should be administered early basis. We will be distributing the flu vaccine as well as the COVID-19 vaccine annually. This is a new vaccine so a lot of information is unknown. We will be keep learning as time goes on. 

12. Should I keep wearing a mask even after the vaccination? 

Absolutely! We need to follow the CDC’s guideline by continue wearing a mask even after vaccination. Please wear your mask, keep social distancing, wash your hands frequently, and use hand sanitizer!