NHBP HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT IMPLEMENTS COVID-19 VACCINATIONS
The NHBP Health and Human Services Department has now administered more than 1,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer. NHBP opted to receive the vaccines through Indian Health Services, rather than the state of Michigan, due to the great support IHS has been throughout the pandemic.
“We received 30 Pfizer vaccines on December 15 and began receiving the Moderna vaccine on December 22,” said NHBP Community Health Outreach Manager Cameryn Ryan. “We likely will not be receiving any more of the Pfizer vaccines due to the storage requirements and logistics for distribution through IHS, but we have been receiving 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine weekly.”
The HHSD is prepared and expecting that they may start to receive more than 100 doses of Moderna’s vaccine weekly. However, there is an incredibly high demand throughout the nation for the Moderna vaccine since it is easier to handle and store, so this is not guaranteed.
The vaccine rollout from the HHSD first went to Elders, then HHSD and Tribal Police Department staff. After this, the vaccine was available to all frontline workers, Tribal Members, and in the near future, the rest of NHBP staff.
“We are currently working through the priorities as approved by Tribal Council,” Ryan said. “The Centers for Disease Control established priorities. However, NHBP as a sovereign Nation could establish priorities in keeping with the spirit and intent of the CDC.”
The vaccine requires two shots, a few weeks apart. In clinical trials, the Moderna vaccine was 94.1% effective at preventing COVID-19 illness in people who received two doses who had no evidence of being previously infected. Based on evidence from clinical trials, the Pfizer vaccine was 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 illness in people without evidence of previous infection.
“Even if you are vaccinated you can still get COVID-19 and spread it,” Ryan said. “The vaccine just helps ensure that you do not develop complications with the virus.”
Currently, NHBP Tribal Members’ spouses are eligible to be added to the NHBP COVID-19 vaccine waiting list, but at this time, children under 18 cannot receive the Moderna vaccine.
In order to combat and manage the sheer volume of vaccinations, the HHSD has purchased a trailer, funded primarily by the 2020 United States Cares Act. Initially, the trailer will be used at FireKeepers Casino Hotel for COVID testing and possibly vaccinations. Long term, the trailer will be used for events like the Pow Wow and Gathering to have a more suitable space for the first aid area. Call the NHBP COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 269.704.8504 and the HHSD will determine your priority placement and add you to the waiting list. Once your priority category has been reached, you will be contacted to schedule your vaccine appointment.
NHBP HONORS EMPLOYEES WITH SERVICE AWARDS
The NHBP Tribal government honored several employees with years of service awards in late 2020 at a special ceremony held at the Pine Creek Community Center. With masks in place, all employees honored were given a specific time slot to reduce the contact with others during this pandemic. Even with the masks covering half of their faces, smiles could be seen through their eyes.
Each recipient was gifted a special plaque and a box full of goodies made special by FireKeepers Casino Hotel.
“We are grateful for the years of service these employees have dedicated to our Tribal Nation, and we thank you for the work you have done to improve the lives of the next Seven Generations of NHBP,” CEO Barry Skutt said.
10 YEAR RECIPIENTS
- Rebecca Griffin
- Eric Kerney
- Jody Korn
- Russell Krause
- Tony Teffner
- Ben Tenney
- Darrel Vorce
5 YEAR RECIPIENTS
- Shane Childs
- Amos Day
- Erin Cleveland
- Derrick Day
- True Dwyer
- Courtney Echols
- Steven Eddy
- Nicole Edson
- Nichole Jones
- Patricia McClure
- Brianne Parrish
- Jaky Replogle
- Jonathan Rinehart
- Heidi Ruohomaki
- Jacob Sheber III
- Jeffrey Smith