Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Winnebago Tribe (Nebraska)
Posted: December 17, 2020


Winnebago Set to Administer First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccination

For Immediate Release

December 16th, 2020

Winnebago, NE – Winnebago Comprehensive Healthcare System (WCHS), comprised of the Winnebago Public Health Department and Twelve Clans Unity Hospital, is preparing to administer the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccination to its healthcare workers. A limited supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination arrived at the facility this evening from the Indian Health Service (IHS).  The vaccine is a 2-dose series given three weeks apart. The first employee from WCHS has volunteered to receive the vaccination following a traditional blessing ceremony beginning tomorrow. The private ceremony will be held at Twelve Clans Unity Hospital at 8 a.m. on Thursday, December 17th, 2020. For media inquiries, please contact Communications Manager, Emilee Longuski, at (615) 486-1767.

“Tomorrow marks the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in Winnebago. Our staff have been on the frontlines of this pandemic because they are committed to providing quality tribal healthcare for our people. We are grateful to be able to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to protect our healthcare staff and prevent further spread of COVID-19.  This is only the first phase of the vaccine roll-out and we look forward to being able to make the vaccine available to other essential personnel, high risk individuals and eventually our entire community as increased supply is available,” said Danelle Smith, Chief Executive Officer of WCHS.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older. In preparation for the vaccine, WCHS assembled an expert COVID-19 Vaccination Implementation Team that developed distribution plans to coincide with the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s recommendations for giving the vaccine. Healthcare personnel is among the first group to receive the vaccine.

Sixty-five doses of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the first shipment of vaccination. The type of vaccine that WCHS received requires a specialized temperature control climate for transportation and storage. Administration of the vaccine must be given in a time-sensitive manner to be safe and effective.

The first phase of the CDC’s vaccine distribution plan offers the vaccine to those serving in a healthcare setting who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials. Long-term care facility residents are also recommended for the initial distribution. The second phase of vaccination distribution will be primarily offered to the essential workers outside a healthcare setting and high-risk populations. Phase three of the distribution plan encompasses the general population.

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