Health

Oklahoma, Osage Nation expand their COVID-19 vaccine eligibility criteria

Photo caption: A Wah-Zha-Zhe Health Center employee administers the vaccine at the Hominy Community Building on March 23, 2021. CODY HAMMER/Osage News

As Oklahoma’s Native American tribes, including the Osage Nation, open their COVID-19 vaccine eligibility criteria, the State of Oklahoma is expanding its vaccine eligibility as well.

Starting March 29, all Oklahoma residents age 16 and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine and can sign up for a vaccine appointment on the state’s online scheduler portal. As of that date, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only vaccine approved for minors age 16-17.

Those interested in receiving the vaccine who are not able to visit the Wah-Zha-Zhe Health Center’s vaccine events can sign up through the Oklahoma state’s portal at the following link: https://vaccinate.oklahoma.gov/en-US/

Vaccination appointments will be required, so no walk-in vaccinations will be allowed at the state-hosted vaccine events.

A list of Oklahoma state vaccine events with locations and available appointments is online at: https://vaccinate.oklahoma.gov/en-US/currentlyopenappointmentsbylocation/

For those living in the Oklahoma City area, the state’s Department of Health notes the Oklahoma City-County Health Department has launched VaxOKC.com, a new website to schedule local COVID-19 vaccine appointments for Oklahoma County residents.

Those using the state’s portal will be asked a series of questions including demographic details (race, age, gender, etc.); medical history including current/ past ailments and allergy information; COVID-19 history of any infections, past testing or vaccinations; and personal contact details.

In the Osage Nation, the WZZHC is now offering the two-dose Moderna and limited supplies of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines at its respective events. As of March 11, the vaccine is available to all individuals age 18 and older whether they are Osage, Native American or non-Native.

Aside from any announced events, the WZZHC currently offers the COVID-19 vaccine on weekdays in Pawhuska at the ON Civic Center from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1449 W. Main St.

Laura Sawney, WZZHC chief compliance and operations officer, said there are no state or Osage County residency restrictions for individuals to be vaccinated at the Civic Center. “We decided to just go for it and go big and open it to everyone. We have a lot of vaccine to administer – we hope the turnout increases and we vaccinate a lot of people!” she said.

To receive a vaccine, the WZZHC states: “Just show up with a photo ID at a convenient time for you. You will NOT have to have an established health chart at our clinic before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.”

The clinic also advises: “We are not able to give 2nd doses to people that got their first dose elsewhere/at a different health facility other than the WZZHC.”

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, the WZZHC COVID-19 vaccine hotline can be reached at (918) 287-0076.