Attention: Letter to the Community Regarding COVID-19 Vaccines

Tribal Council

December 21, 2020

Nooksack Tribal Community,

We anticipate the arrival of vaccine to help prevent the spread of COVID in the near future. The vaccine will allow us to protect those most vulnerable to the disease and will prevent infection in many individuals. Like the influenza vaccine, it is likely to reduce the severity of disease even when it may not be able to prevent the infection entirely. The immunization will also break the chain of infection by preventing the transmission of the disease from one person to another once they are immunized. We expect the vaccine to arrive either this week or next. We are working hard to get other training and procedures in place to safely vaccinate the community.

The Tribe has set the priorities for Elders and healthcare providers with the first doses. As the amount of vaccine increases, we will be able to vaccinate everyone that wants immunization in the future. Please check the Tribal Website for updates on the supply of vaccine. As a healthcare worker, I expect to get the immunization; I would not give the vaccine to others unless I thought it was safe for myself and our families.

The vaccine is very effective (95%), but not everyone will be immediately protected. A booster dose will be needed and even then, about 1 in 20 people may still get the infection. There may also be some symptoms from the shot. It is anticipated that these symptoms will be more common with the booster dose. Redness, tenderness and swelling at the site of injection are known side effects. Some people may get flu-like symptoms in the days following vaccination. These are all signs that the immunization you received is working! Some side effects rarely happen and some are serious. Allergies can occur with all vaccines and this is no exception. The clinic will be ready to deal with these side effects, if they occur. We will ask you to stay at the clinic for 30 minutes after the vaccination to watch for any problems.

We will be getting the Moderna vaccine. We believe it is a very safe and effective vaccine. It is more stable than the Pfizer product and less complex to manage.

Please join me in getting vaccinated once the vaccine is available and let’s work together to help protect our elders and the most vulnerable members.

Frank James MD

Health Officer

Read the document here.