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Cherokee Nation offering COVID-19 vaccine to kids 5 and up

Chrissi Nimmo with her twins, Mattie and James
Posted at 6:38 AM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 08:01:07-04

TULSA, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation is getting a jump on COVID-19 vaccines for children five and up.

The tribe began offering the vaccine for kids starting on Thursday. In total, the Cherokee Nation gave 32 pediatric Pfizer shots at their clinic on the first day.

The emergency use authorization for kids five and up came out just two days ago.

"There you go... Good job! Didn't even flinch. You're my hero!"

In Tahlequah, there's a new group of faces showing up to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

"It's just a relief that they have an added layer of protection," says Chrissi Nimmo.

The Cherokee Nation is one of the first in the area to get the pediatric COVID-19 vaccines out to the public just days after the federal government's approval.

"Almost as soon as we got the word that they had been approved for this age group, Cherokee Nation was advertising that we had them available for kids, regardless of Indian status or insurance," Nimmo says.

Nimmo didn't question whether to get her children vaccinated. Being told they were available and safe was enough for her to bring her children to the clinic to get their vaccine.

"Mom made me feel a little better because she said we can get ice cream at the end," says Mattie Nimmo.

Doctors urge parents to read out to their child's doctor for questions.

"I am Cherokee and I'm a parent," says Dr. Emma Harp of Cherokee Nation Outpatient Health Center. "After this week is over, all four of my children will be vaccinated. I think it's crucial for parents to have discussions with their pediatricians about what questions they have."

The Cherokee Nation's goal is to protect everyone - native and non-native. Dr. Harp says getting these vaccines out quickly to all ages has huge cultural implications.

”Unfortunately as a tribal community, we’ve been hit really hard with COVID-19," Dr. Harp mentions. "That’s something we’ve all been through as a community. That’s something we want to mitigate and eradicate as soon as possible.”

The tribe is offering the Pfizer pediatric vaccine at all of their outpatient clinics. They will be available for everyone from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays with or without an appointment.

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