Business , Health

Osage Casino officials discuss COVID-19 vaccine opportunities

Osage Casinos is working on more plans to have the COVID-19 vaccine available to its employees, according to management discussion at the January Gaming Enterprise Board meeting.

The regular meeting, with attendees usually including Osage Nation government officials and other individuals with business items for the board, included a question on the COVID-19 vaccine availability from Congressman John Maker.

Maker asked “how are we doing with the safety of our casino employees” in having a plan for the COVID-19 vaccine?

Kyle Revard, Osage Casinos Human Resources director, said his department is responsible for COVID-19 testing which is done regularly. “We have a licensed facility” that the casino partners with to provide COVID-19 testing with results available within 24 hours, he said.

For the COVID-19 vaccine, Revard said he is planning to reach out to Dr. Ron Shaw, CEO/ Chief Medical Officer at the Wah-Zha-Zhe Health Center in Pawhuska, by month’s end to discuss vaccine opportunities. As of late January, the WZZHC is vaccinating patients who are age 55 and older, ON Health Services and WZZHC employees, long-term care patients and essential government employees including elected officials as part of Phase 1. 

In the meantime, Revard said the casino is encouraging employees to register through the Oklahoma State Department of Health website so they will be contacted whenever the vaccine is available for their respective demographic groups.

According to the OSDH, the state is offering vaccinations to Oklahoma residents who are healthcare workers, first responders and elders age 65 and older as part of Phase 2 of the state’s vaccine distribution plan as of Jan. 27.  

For more information about COVID-19 vaccination appointments through OSDH, visit: www.vaccinate.ok.gov

At the WZZHC, the clinic’s three-phase plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution states Phase 1 is estimated to run through February. The WZZHC notes the distribution plan is subject to change based on future distribution shipments and vaccine allocations.

Phase 2 (February-April) patient targets are remaining ON government employees not in Phase 1, and also WZZHC patients and eligible patients of any age with underlying health conditions.

Phase 3 (April-June) patient targets are any remaining Osage or non-Osage Native American patients or eligible patients not in the prior phases.

Individuals who are eligible WZZHC patients are Osages and other Native Americans who have a Certificate Degree of Indian Blood and/or have proof they are members of any federally recognized tribe, according to the clinic. All patients getting vaccinated will need to have an updated active health chart at the WZZHC.

Also, the WZZHC has established an online wait list for patients interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The waitlist form is available at: ONHS WahZhaZhe Health Center COVID-19 Queue/Wait list Survey (surveymonkey.com) or the WZZHC COVID-19 vaccine hotline can be reached at (918) 287-0076.