Cherokee Nation offering vaccine to children ages 5-11

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FILE – This October 2021, photo provided by Pfizer shows kid-size doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Puurs, Belgium. (Pfizer via AP, File)

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KNWA/KHTV) — The Cherokee Nation is now offering the Pfizer pediatric vaccine to children ages 5-11 for combatting COVID-19.

The tribe received its first shipment this week and currently has 1,200 doses available at all its tribal health center locations.

The announcement comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices approved a revised and expanded FDA Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer vaccine that allows children ages 5-11 to receive it.

The dosage is one series of two doses, with the second being administered three weeks after the first. A booster is not currently recommended.

Getting our Cherokee children vaccinated will better protect our families and tribal communities from the spread of this virus. By vaccinating everyone in the household, elders to children, we not only save lives and prevent our hospital from reaching capacity, but we protect our Cherokee language and culture.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.

Cherokee Nation Health Services Executive Director Dr. R. Stephen Jones stressed that getting children in this age group vaccinated is essential for protecting environments such as day care and elementary classrooms. He added that the pediatric vaccine is another positive step toward full protection against the virus.

Since receiving its first batch of vaccines in December 2020, the Cherokee Nation has administered more than 85,000 vaccine doses. Their tribal government employees are more than 70% vaccinated and Sequoyah Schools nearly 70% vaccinated.

“I am strongly recommending all of our patients and the general pediatric population to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Dante Perez, chief of pediatrics at Cherokee Nation Health Services.

Everyone can get vaccinated for free at the Cherokee Nation Health Services centers, regardless of residency.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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