Suquamish Tribe elders are among the first, outside of health care workers, to be given the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Kitsap County.
The tribe received about 600 doses of the first round of the vaccination and began administering them to elders Jan. 4 using drive-through protocols at the Clearwater Casino garage.
“Ten of the tribe’s health care providers and support staff who will be administering the vaccine received their first shots on December 30, allowing them time to fully recover from any side effects so they could safely administer the vaccinations and monitor side effects of those being vaccinated in the following rounds,” said Cherrie May, manager of the tribe’s Emergency Operations Center.
A total of 96 people were given the vaccine Monday, including elders, government employees and members of the tribe in frontline positions. Tribal health care officials are expecting that number to increase daily as more vaccines are provided and it becomes available to the general public.
“The arrival of the first vaccines marks the beginning of the end of this pandemic,” said Scott Crowell, the tribe’s interim co-executive director. “The leadership of the Tribal Council, coupled with the precautions taken by tribal community members and the hard work of staff, have minimized the impact of the pandemic on our community.”
The virus has had a minimal impact on the Suquamish Tribe, with only a handful of COVID cases.
Nevertheless, the tribe still cautions members and the community to protect itself against the virus by continuing to wear masks, wash hands regularly, avoid large gatherings, and stand at least 6 feet apart.
“These are things we will need to keep doing, even after we’ve got the vaccine, until everyone is safe,” May said.