The first people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in the Sokaogon Chippewa Community are just about ready to get their second doses.
Health Director Jamie Zarda says they’ve been fortunate to get enough of the Pfizer vaccine to administer doses to all the health clinic staff as well as tribal elders.
“It was so exciting to be able to get that,” said Zarda. She was one of the first to get the vaccine.
Zarda said she didn’t have any reaction to it other than a sore arm.
“We’ve had a few slight reactions like enlarged lymph nodes, dizziness, but nobody has said that they will not get the second vaccine [dose],” said Zarda.
Zarda says by and large vaccine rollout has gone smoothly within the community.
With every dose that’s administered, Zarda says the community gets closer to reopening.
“We are very restricted right now,” she said.
During the pandemic, the Sokaogon Chippewa Community has kept the Mole Lake Casino closed.
It also restricted access to the Cenex Convenient Store and Gas Station, all measures taken to try and prevent the spread of the virus.
Zarda says even within the Health Clinic there are a lot of restrictions like patients getting testing for COVID-19 before appointments.
“With the Native American Community, it can wipe out the community,” said Zarda. “We really need and want everybody in the community or as many as possible to get vaccinated so we can open up and kind of get back to our regular lifestyle.”
Zarda says the goal is to get 80-percent of the population vaccinated.
She encourages everyone who is able to get the vaccine. If you’re hesitant, Zarda recommends doing reading up on it from reliable sources.
“The vaccine is safer than getting the COVID itself,” said Zarda.
Native Americans make up less than 1-percent of Wisconsin’s population, but they account for about 1.3 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the state.
Native Americans also make up 1.4 percent of the deaths due to COVID-19 in Wisconsin, according data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.