Visit our COVID-19 Information pages for details regarding the coronavirus as it relates to the Chickasaw Nation.
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COVID-19 Vaccine

Recently, the Chickasaw Nation joined many groups across the country in receiving the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine will be distributed as part of a prioritized and phased timeline developed in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.

With safety being a top priority, Chickasaw Nation health officials state there are many reasons to receive the vaccine as it is the best defense against COVID-19.

"We are living and working in unprecedented times. I want to personally thank everyone for their efforts to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We appreciate the willingness of our citizens and employees to take the necessary precautions of wearing a mask, watching your distance, washing your hands and getting your annual flu vaccine to help stop the spread and ease the burden on our health care system and our health care workers.

Although we would like everyone to get vaccinated, experts say the United States needs to vaccinate 75 to 80% of our population to really get back to our normal activities. The Chickasaw Nation is hoping to do our part to vaccinate as many patients and employees as we possibly can once we begin to receive the vaccines in larger quantities.

Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) distribution plan, the Chickasaw Nation began vaccinating our health care workers on Dec. 16. We will vaccinate Chickasaw elders, ages 65 and older, next as vaccine shipments are delivered to our facilities. Due to the high effectiveness rate, we strongly encourage every person in the appropriate age range to speak with their health care provider and consider receiving the vaccine once it becomes readily available. To get the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine you can be 16 years or older, whereas to receive the Moderna vaccine you must be 18 years or older.

We believe it will not be long until we are able to deploy vaccinations to more citizens and patients. I will ask my family to be vaccinated once it is available to them and their population groups. Getting the vaccination is the only way our families, schools and businesses can resume any type of normal activity."

Dr. Charles Grim
Chickasaw Nation Secretary of Health

General Information about COVID-19 Vaccinations

Much like other common vaccines, such as flu immunizations, chickenpox, hepatitis, HPV and more, the COVID-19 vaccine helps your body develop immunity to the virus. Vaccines work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Unlike some vaccines, the COVID-19 does not contain a live virus. Instead, the vaccine helps (or aids) by building antibodies, to protect you if you are exposed.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has robust scientific and regulatory processes in place to facilitate development and ensure the safety, effectiveness and quality of COVID-19 vaccines. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. has a longstanding safety system to ensure all vaccines are as safe as possible.

As FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines are received, the Chickasaw Nation will assist the state of Oklahoma in distributing vaccines in phases and according to availability.

Currently, vaccines are available by appointment only. The Chickasaw Nation COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center is available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at (580) 272-1339 for Chickasaw elders to schedule vaccine appointments. Closed Chickasaw Nation holidays.

What to Expect When Receiving the Vaccine:

  • Arrive at your scheduled appointment time and drive-thru location. Expect to remain in your vehicle at all times. Pets are not allowed in the vehicle (no exceptions).
  • For the safety of patients and staff, traffic will move slowly at all Chickasaw Nation vaccine drive-thru locations.
  • Following the vaccination, there is a required 15-minute observation time.
  • There are currently two types of COVID-19 vaccines and both require second doses. Those receiving a Moderna vaccine will receive the second dose 28 days later. The Pfizer vaccine second dose is 21 days later. Second dose appointments will be scheduled at the same location.
  • Recipients will receive a vaccine record card that will be required for the second dose.
  • Second dose appointment notifications are sent to recipients by email, text and/or a phone call reminder.
  • Vaccine recipients should consult with a primary care provider if there are questions or concerns regarding side effects after either dose.

Vaccines at Your Local Health Department

Public health departments are offering COVID-19 vaccines according to CDC recommended guidelines. First responders, health care workers and individuals over age 65 may be eligible to receive a vaccine. More groups will be added to the eligibility list as supplies are available. Register online at Those who are eligible will receive an email within 48 hours with a link to book an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination?
    Widespread vaccination is the single most effective way to control the COVID-19 virus. It will help reduce critical illness rates and clinic, emergency department and hospital visits. It will also decrease the need for testing, treatment and more importantly, reduce deaths. Vaccination gives us a chance to return to some sense of normalcy.
  2. What is the vaccine effectiveness?
    There are currently two pharmaceutical companies that have released data regarding effectiveness. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has reported efficacy of between 90-95%. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has reported rates of efficacy of 94.1 to 95% and recently showed 100% efficacy in preventing severe illness in a small sample of patients.
  3. How are the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines given?

    Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine: Administered in two doses in the shoulder muscle (deltoid), intramuscularly (IM) (like a flu or tetanus shot). The second dose is administered 21 days after the first dose.

    Moderna COVID-19 vaccine: Administered in two doses in the shoulder muscle (deltoid), intramuscularly (IM) (like a flu or tetanus shot). The second dose is administered 28 days after the first dose.

  4. Can I get a COVID-19 infection from the vaccine?
    No, this is not possible. The vaccine contains no virus or virus particles. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine allows your body to develop immunity. The antigen (what your body’s immune system reacts to which helps you develop immunity to the real COVID-19 virus should you get infected) is a piece of genetic code, which instructs your cells to make “spike” protein that looks like the protein on the virus. This bioengineered genetic code snippet is contained in a small fat molecule. The fat particle is taken by your cells shortly after immunization. Your cell makes spike proteins after reading the code and then sends these proteins into the bloodstream. Your body’s T cells and B cells react to the protein and attack it, causing an immune response. People who experience symptoms after being vaccinated are developing immunity. The cells also create memory to attack the virus if you are infected at a later date with COVID-19. This will keep the virus from doing significant damage to your body.
  5. What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines?

    It is important to remember that a vaccine is designed to create an immune response. Vaccine reactions, such as arm soreness, low-grade fever, muscle aches and pain, mild cough and headache, are common and a sign that your body may be appropriately responding to the vaccine. Most people do not report any significant symptoms. For those who do, most report them for about 24 hours and a few up to 48 hours. As mentioned above, the vaccines are administered as a two-part series. Some people have reported more significant symptoms after the second injection.

    Long-term safety (over six months) by definition has not been established as not enough time has elapsed since the studies were conducted.

  6. How long is the protection from a COVID-19 vaccine expected to last?
    At this time, we do not have enough data collected to determine how long the vaccine is effective. However, early vaccine trial recipients have continued to see vaccine efficacy in protecting them from infection lasting up to four months. It is believed that protection will last significantly longer than this. This information will be updated as more data is collected.
  7. If I take the COVID-19 vaccine, may I stop wearing a mask?
    COVID-19 precautions, such as wearing masks and responsible distancing, will continue to be recommended as a safeguard against COVID-19 until widespread vaccination is achieved and shown to be effective.
  8. Is it safe for pregnant women and lactating women to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

    If a pregnant woman is part of a group that is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., healthcare personnel), they may choose to be vaccinated. When seeking guidance to make the decision to vaccinate, pregnant women and their healthcare providers should consider the level of COVID-19 community transmission, the patient’s personal risk of contracting COVID-19, and potential risks to the fetus, the efficacy of the vaccine, the side effects of the vaccine and the lack of data about the vaccine during pregnancy.

    Lactating women who are part of a group recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., healthcare personnel) may choose to be vaccinated. There is no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating woman or the effects of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines on a breastfed infant.

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COVID-19 Vaccination Resources