Health

WZZHC changes COVID-19 vaccination availability, now vaccinating 16–17-year-olds

Photo caption: As of April, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is the only two-dose shot available to individuals age 16 and older, per the Emergency Use Authorization, approved by the FDA in December 2020. CODY HAMMER/Osage News

Starting April 6, the Osage Nation WahZhaZhe Health Center will reduce its COVID-19 vaccine availability by two weekdays and will start offering the vaccine on Wednesdays to 16 and 17-year-olds.

The WZZHC said in a statement it is focusing on returning clinic services that were reduced and impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and working on staff scheduling to make the service adjustments.

WZZHC staff will now be available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to vaccinate all individuals – Osages, Native Americans and non-Natives – age 18-older at the Osage Nation Civic Center in Pawhuska at 1449 W. Main Street. No appointment is needed for adults to receive the vaccine at the Civic Center, which will be open from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Individuals will need to provide photo identification to receive the shot.

As for minors, the WZZHC will vaccinate 16–17-year-olds by appointment only on Wednesday mornings. Appointments can be scheduled by calling the WZZHC COVID-19 vaccine hotline at (918) 287-0076. Minors are required to have a signed parental consent form to receive the vaccine and will not be required to have an established patient chart at the WZZHC also.

“Over the past year we have exclusively dedicated our staff, time and resources to primarily combatting COVID-19,” The WZZHC said in announcing its April 5 vaccine update. “Our staff have been stretched thin for a long time now with some services being reduced/limited. ONHS knew at some point we must start slowly getting our clinic activity moving back to the comprehensive level it once was before COVID-19 changed everything. However, we are still dedicated to getting people vaccinated thus the dedicated 3 full days to COVID-19 vaccination efforts - all day Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Nonetheless, we also must get back to promoting screenings and other clinical/health services efforts (chronic disease management, etc.) It's a tough balancing act but we hope everyone understands and we hope everyone comes out to one of the three days dedicated to COVID-19 vaccines to get your second and/or first shot.”

For individuals given a Monday or Friday second vaccination date, the WZZHC notes: “You have a +\- four-day window to get your second vaccine shot. If you were previously given a date that falls on a Monday or Friday please plan to get vaccinated on either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday of that same week.”

As of April, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is the only two-dose shot available to individuals age 16 and older, per the Emergency Use Authorization approved by the FDA in December 2020. The two-dose Moderna and single-dose Johnson & Johnson shots are approved for use in individuals age 18 and older.