Health workers to administer COVID-19 vaccine at Wahzhazhe Health Center

As the COVID-19 vaccine is being administered around the country for the first time outside of drug trials, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will soon be administered at the Wahzhazhe Health Center.

“Our allocation of the vaccine will come from Claremore IHS hospital,” said Dr. Ron Shaw, CEO and Chief Medical Officer for the WHC. “The vaccine will be delivered by 1 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, Dec. 16). We will start vaccinations that afternoon.

Shaw said the health center should also receive the Moderna vaccine sometime next week.

Vaccinations will be administered in three phases. The first phase will go to healthcare workers, critical essential employees (non-healthcare), elders over the age of 65, and high-risk patients with co-morbidities such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and others. The health center will focus on its patients first and will follow Indian Health Service guidelines.

Phase two will be in early spring and will treat most of the patients of the clinic, he said. Phase three will be in late spring, early summer and will treat the rest of the population.

Shaw said the health center staff will administer the vaccine with drive-thru opportunities in Pawhuska, Hominy and Fairfax, or by appointment.

Currently, the health center has around 5,800 patients and about 50 percent of those are Osage tribal members, he said.

Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine is 95 percent effective and must be stored at a temperature of minus-70 Celsius (minus-94 Fahrenheit). The health center received new refrigeration systems to store the vaccine.

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses at varying intervals, an initial shot and then a booster shot 21 days later that helps maintain immunity to the virus. In some patients, the vaccine has induced side effects that are similar to symptoms associated with mild COVID-19 symptoms, such as muscle pain, chills and headache. Individuals who have experienced reactions to vaccines in the past should be cautioned about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

What is in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine?

According to the FDA, the following ingredient list is what makes up the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine:

Active Ingredient

-       nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA) encoding the viral spike glycoprotein (S) of SARS-CoV-2


-       (4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis (ALC-3015)
-       (2- hexyldecanoate),2-[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide (ALC-0159)
-       1,2-distearoyl-snglycero-3-phosphocholine (DPSC)
-       cholesterol


-       potassium chloride
-       monobasic potassium phosphate
-       sodium chloride
-       basic sodium phosphate dihydrate 


-       sucrose

An article by MIT Technology Review breaks down each ingredient and its function.

Pregnant women may take the vaccine

The FDA authorized the vaccine for people 16 and older. Women who are pregnant and breastfeeding were also given the green light, but the FDA left it a personal choice. The vaccine has not been tested on pregnant women and according to reports by British authorities, they are not recommending the vaccine to pregnant women in the UK. They noted they have not seen any negative reactions by pregnant women to the vaccine yet, or to a developing fetus, but British officials want more data before they proceed. 

About 8,500 pregnant women have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S., according to the CDC. Out of 44,000 known COVID-19 cases involving pregnant women, 57 have died. Those statistics have led some to believe the risk of the virus outweighs the risk of the vaccine.

The American Medical Association called on Pfizer-BioNTech, the FDA and the CDC to release to the public as soon as possible the data from the developmental and reproductive toxicity (DART) studies to physicians and pregnant women. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) will soon release guidance for vaccinating pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Are children spreading the virus at school?

According to an article in National Geographic, an Icelandic study shows that a child’s age is a big factor in whether they are susceptible to catching the virus and spreading it. The 40,000-person study found that children under 15 were about half as likely as adults to be infected, and only half as likely as adults to transmit the virus to others. They found that almost all the coronavirus transmissions to children came from adults.

The analysis is one of the emerging large-scale studies recently released as researchers study the novel coronavirus.

In addition to the Icelandic study, other research has shown that pre-pubescent kids have a significantly lower likelihood of getting sick.

COVID Update: Active cases in the Osage community as of Dec. 15, 2020

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Osage County has a total of 285 active cases, 2,122 recoveries and 21 deaths. 

The OSDH provides free COVID-19 testing at 80 locations throughout Oklahoma and encourages everyone to get tested. An interactive map of testing sites can be found by clicking here.

The News has pulled data to reflect the situation of the virus spread in Osage County towns and surrounding cities, such as Tulsa, Ponca City and Bartlesville. 

Below is data from the latest OSDH COVID-19 Report as of Dec. 15, 2020.

Confirmed active cases by City
Tulsa – 2,895                                                                          
Owasso – 376
Ponca City – 288                    
Bartlesville – 227
Skiatook – 115
Cleveland – 48
Hominy – 44
Sperry – 41
Pawhuska – 41
Fairfax – 19
Barnsdall – 18                                                                                                

Deaths by City
Tulsa – 204                                                                             
Bartlesville – 45                                 
Ponca City – 14                                                          
Skiatook – 8                                                               
Owasso – 7
Cleveland – 5                         
Barnsdall – 3
Pawhuska – 3                                                                       
Hominy – 2                             
Sperry – 2                                                                   
Fairfax – 1                              

Oklahoma Total Cases by Race
White – 57.10%
Unknown – 22.07%
American Indian or Alaska Native – 9.45%
Black or African American – 5.88%
Multiple Races/Other – 3.47%
Asian or Pacific Islander alone – 2.02%

Oklahoma Total Cases by Age Group
18-35               32.38%
36-49               21.79%
50-64               19.06%
65+                  14.42%
05-17               10.49%
00-04               1.85%
UNK                 0.01%

To view more data for the state of Oklahoma, visit: