“We encourage people that have kids of that age (5-11) to go ahead and reach out to their pediatricians at the clinics.” -Director of Outpatient Pharmacy Services for Okmulgee Indian Health Center Sam Hubler
Morgan Taylor/ Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – Mvskoke Media Live Wire invited Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health Chief Performance Officer Shoneen Alexander-Ross and Director of Outpatient Pharmacy Services for Okmulgee Indian Health Center Samuel Hubler to discuss COVID vaccine boosters and the roll out of the children’s vaccine.
On Nov. 2, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that children 5 to 11 years old be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine. The CDC now expands vaccine recommendations to about 28 million children in the United States in this age group and allows providers to begin vaccinating them as soon as possible.
Hubler claimed the pediatric vaccine had arrived on site as of Nov. 4.
“We plan on making sure that all staff is aware of all the changes,” Hubler said. “The formulation is different, storage is different, the amount of doses that come per vile is different, and the length of time once you draw in a syringe is different.”
After intensive training and testing, Hubler claimed the vaccines will start rolling out as early as Tuesday, Nov. 9.
“We encourage people that have kids of that age (5-11) to go ahead and reach out to their pediatricians at the clinics,” Hubler said. “They are going to be the one that are handling most of those doses.”
According to Hubler, MCNDH is currently distributing various forms of vaccines to patients.
“We are in the thick of it,” he said. “We are giving out plenty of first and second doses but now have really started in heavily with the third dose and booster doses for all of our patients here at Muscogee Nation Department of Health.”
Hubler claimed the third doses were designed for those with immune compromises and administered within 28 days of the second dose.
Booster shots are more directed for the general public and can be taken at least 6 months after the initial series, according to Hubler.
“Those people that have had the third dose will be eligible for a booster after six months as well,” Hubler said. “In essence, they will have four doses of either Pfizer of Moderna.”
Alexander-Ross said the booster is eligible to those who are 65 and older, 18 and older and are in long-term care settings or have underlying health conditions, and those who are 18 and older who live and work in high-risk settings.
According to Alexander-Ross, high-risk settings can include first responders, school workers, correction workers, postal workers, and transit workers.
“We are still encouraging those who have not come forward to get those vaccine, we are still handing out primary doses so please reach out to your clinic,” she said. “We want to move forward and out of this pandemic.”
Alexander-Ross stated those who are hesitant can receive consultation at their clinic from medical professionals.
“This is still an opportune time to get the vaccine and protect yourself,” she said.
As the holidays approach, Alexander-Ross urges citizens to consider the safety of family members and take precautions.
For more information citizens can reach the automated hotline at: 918-758-3601 or visit www.creekhealth.org.