The Cherokee Nation announced Tuesday it has opened COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to individuals who live within their reservation boundaries, including non-Natives.
“The Cherokee Nation is a good partner in our communities and by working together we can combat this deadly virus within our reservation and make more families safe,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a prepared news release. “We’re proud the Cherokee Nation can offer this service and give our communities the opportunity to be protected from COVID-19.”
The reservation includes all or parts of 14 counties, including Adair, Cherokee, Craig, Delaware, Mayes, McIntosh, Muskogee, Nowata, Ottawa, Rogers, Sequoyah, Tulsa, Wagoner, and Washington.
The tribe said it would continue to offer vaccine to Cherokee citizens, citizens of other federally recognized tribes eligible to receive care within Cherokee Nation Health Services and their household members who live outside the reservation boundaries.
“By protecting everyone living within the boundaries of our reservation, we are protecting our citizens, our culture, our language, our family and our neighbors,” Cherokee Nation Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner said in the release. “That’s the Cherokee way to help each other.”
Tribes receive their vaccine allocation from the federal Indian Health Service and are not constrained by the state of Oklahoma's eligibility criteria, meaning adults who may still not qualify through the state health department even after Tuesday's expansion into their phase three can qualify to receive the vaccine from tribal nations who offer them.
Vaccinations require appointments. More information is available at the Cherokee Nation website.