River Health Newsletter 12/10
First, the good news: two COVID vaccines are nearing approval, probably within the next few days here in the United States. The testing phase to make sure the vaccines are both effective and safe involved 75,000 people volunteering to take part. Both vaccine trials showed around a 95% effective rate. As a comparison, the seasonal flu vaccine has an effective rate of around 70%.
In Great Britain on Monday, the world’s first people to receive an approved vaccine after that country’s safety approval system found it both safe and effective.
Now, the bad news: just because the vaccines have been approved doesn’t mean everyone who wants one can get them right away. Vaccine manufacturers will require months to produced the hundreds of millions of doses that will be required.
Since everyone can’t be vaccinated on day one, a priority system will be used. Nationally, frontline healthcare workers will have the first priority, followed by elderly people with high risk who live in a nursing home. Exercising their sovereignty, the tribes will be able to set their own priority system for their members.
These might be the most demanded vaccines in history. There are already reports of wealthier or politically connected people seeking to receive higher priority. Fortunately tribal leadership and tribal healthcare providers have made sure that tribes will be able to get vaccine doses for their members as it becomes available and won’t be at the back of the line.
While having a vaccine soon is good news, it’s still important to continue taking steps to slow the spread. Stay home whenever possible, avoid gatherings, wear a mask, keep a 6-foot distance from non-household members, and wash hands often.
Below is the national vaccine priority plan. Figures represent % of population. For example, the five figures in Phase 1a represent 5% of Americans. Note that the tribes have the sovereignty to set their own priority groups, which may differ from the national plan.
10am to 3pm next Wednesday (Dec 16), there will be a free COVID testing event at the Lyle Point. (No testing from noon to 1pm to give healthcare workers lunch.) For more info, call Jen Cramer from One Community Health at (541) 256-4232.
If you are unable to attend this event, tribal members can schedule a free COVID test at a more convenient time at a One Community Health clinic in The Dalles or Hood River. To make an appointment, call (541) 386-6380.
Text ‘critfc’ to 47177 on a cell phone to get announcements for upcoming COVID testing events at select fishing access site. Fishery openings are also announced with this system.
Why should I get a flu shot?
Healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating both patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. This means getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever. While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, there are many important benefits.
Free flu shots available to tribal members from North Central Health District. Call (541) 506-2600 for more info or schedule an appointment.
Access Site Resources
Residents or users of in-lieu or treaty fishing access sites may contact the Fishing Site Maintenance Department crew (541) 980-2789 with requests for masks, hand sanitizer, soap cloths, and disinfecting spray (depending on availability). Contact CRITFC’s fisher support for assistance with food, clothing, and other wellness supplies at (971) 221-2546
Tribal members on the access sites can get food assistance, health care, and isolation/quarantine assistance. Contact One Community Health at (541) 386-6380 for more information.
Tribal COVID Resources
Tribal COVID information and resources pages:
- CTUIR: https://www.ctuircovid.info
- Yakama Nation: https://www.yakama.com/covid-19/
- Nez Perce: https://nezperce.org/coronavirus-covid-19-updates/
- CTWSRO: https://warmsprings-nsn.gov