Health

Wahzhazhe Health Center administering flu vaccine and preparing for COVID-19 vaccine

The Wahzhazhe Health Center is currently administering free flu vaccines to the public.

Dr. Ron Shaw, Chief Medical officer of the WHC, said individuals do not need a medical chart at the WHC for a free flu vaccine. When asked about a possible COVID-19 vaccine, Shaw said a “legitimate vaccine” will most likely be ready and on the market in early spring of next year.

“Even when it is ready it won’t be 100% effective. The flu vaccine is only 45% effective, and that’s been tested and improved over decades,” Shaw said. “We’re talking about a new vaccine, rushed to market.”

He cautioned people not to read too much into what is published in the media or to believe everything on social media – a legitimate vaccine is not something that can be rushed.

He said through the Indian Health Service they have set aside money to purchase enough of the vaccine for the clinic’s entire usage population, employees and constituents. The active user population of the clinic is 6,000, plus approximately 500 Osage Nation employees.

“We have Osages that live in our community, but they don’t necessarily use our clinic. Our goal is to provide it to all seeking the vaccine,” he said. “About half of our patient population is Osage, and the other half is non-Osage. So, we’ll make that vaccine available to all Indian Health Service beneficiaries, individuals who have a CDIB or tribal enrollment in a recognized tribe.”

He said the clinic’s administration of the flu vaccine will be a dry run on how they will administer the COVID-19 vaccine. They will have community vaccination clinics for the flu vaccine this year in hopes of reaching as many people as possible.

“The purpose of pushing the influenza vaccination this year, is they think it’s a higher mortality rate by getting the flu and COVID-19 at the same time,” he said.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic started at the heels of the influenza season and now the flu season is beginning again. The clinic carries two flu vaccines, one is a regular flu vaccine and the second is a higher dose with a more robust response for individuals 65 years and older.

For more information call the Wahzhazhe Health Center at (918) 287-9300 or follow the clinic on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WHCqualitycare