February 8th, 2021
The Snoqualmie Tribal Council is pleased to announce the Tribe has been approved to receive doses of COVID-19 Moderna vaccine, and that the first doses are scheduled to arrive in mid-February. This is a huge victory for the Tribe.
The acquisition and distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations has been a challenge not only for Snoqualmie, but for nearly every agency, State, and service provider engaged in this historical effort. We realize tensions are high, and there are many concerns, questions, and unknowns as we are all living through unprecedented times. We want to assure you that the Tribe has a team of folks who are working hard to make sure that the Tribe is able to care for its members, their loved ones, and our community. We want to make the vaccination process as comforting, and convenient as possible. This will take time to do, and there will be bumps along the way, but know that the team is trying its best. We want to make sure everyone who wants a vaccine is taken care of and supported.
Securing vaccines was more challenging for Snoqualmie than other tribes because we do not have a full-scale operational clinic. Even tribes who do have full scale clinics have shared that it has been a multi-month endeavor to add this vaccination program and to serve their patients. As has been covered in the news, the process for rolling out vaccines has been bumpy, nation-wide.
Vaccine availability continues to be a challenge, which then complicates all downstream planning efforts. The State of Washington currently only learns how many vaccines it is receiving once they show up at their doorstep. Likewise, the Tribe will have less than a week’s advance notice of how many doses it is receiving until the supply chain process nationally is improved overtime. Without this key information, every other element of planning is impacted. We are seeing large services providers struggle with this too, as large hospitals are turning away or cancelling thousands of vaccine appointments. We are trying to avoid disastrous outcomes like that through careful planning and by proceeding with a “slow and steady” approach.
Who is the Tribe Partnering with on this Effort? Being able to receive the vaccine is only one part of this process. While the Tribe was applying to become an enrolled provider, we worked hard to pull together other resources and partners to help us get vaccines to Snoqualmie Tribal Members. Partnerships with Cowlitz Tribal Clinic and Eastside Fire and Rescue are critical to the Tribe’s ability to deliver the vaccines to the Tribal community.
What is the Tribe’s Plan for Rolling Out the Vaccines? The Tribe’s vaccine delivery plan is organized into three (3) main phases:
Phase 1 – Priority Outreach to Tribal Elders for Vaccination at Cowlitz Tribal Clinic| Tribal Elders were individually contacted by the Elders Care program staff to let them know they and other members of their household could receive the vaccine at the Cowlitz Tribal Clinic in Tukwila. Leadership at Cowlitz partnered with the Tribe to share the knowledge they gained as a vaccine provider, and they want to help care for Snoqualmie Tribal Members. This vaccine is being offered at no cost. People who receive their 1st (prime) shot will also need to receive their 2nd (booster) shot at the Cowlitz Tribal Clinic.
Phase 2 – Pop Up Vaccination Clinic on Snoqualmie Tribal Reservation | In this phase, the Tribe will operate a pop-up vaccination clinic on the Tribal Reservation in the Casino Ballroom to provide vaccinations to Tribal Members and Tribal Staff (including Casino, government and LLCs) and other members of their households. Eastside Fire & Rescue will administer the vaccines and the Tribe will utilize a variety of other medical resources and personnel available to help with the on-site clinics. The pop-up clinic will operate on weekends and appointments will be made available through an online portal. Elders Care staff will be available to assist Elders who may have trouble accessing the appointment site.
Phase 3 – Delivery of Vaccines to the General Public | The Tribe provides services not only to its members and staff, but also to the general public. If the Tribe is able to continue procuring vaccine doses after covering all individuals in phase 2, there is an opportunity for the Tribe to provide the vaccine to others in need who provide for our community including schoolteachers, grocery store workers, retail workers, and others. The State of Washington is estimating that it may not be able to start getting vaccines out to those outside of its current identified priority groups until mid-summer. The Tribe may be able to begin providing for those individuals much sooner through exercising its sovereign ability to procure vaccinations.
How is the Tribe Determining Who May Receive the Vaccine? As a sovereign nation, the Tribe gets to define its own prioritized populations. At this point, the FDA has only approved the Moderna vaccine for individuals 18 years and older.
- Tribal Elder & Household
- Tribal Public Safety & Household
- Tribal Membership & Household
- Includes ICW Caregivers
- Includes non-Snoqualmie Custodial Parents
- Tribal Employees (Casino, Government, Eighth Generation, Salish Lodge)
- 55+ and Household
- 18-55 year olds and Household
- Other Tribal Partners
Which Vaccine is the Tribe Going to Offer? At this time, the Tribe is only able to provide the Moderna vaccine. Tribal vaccine storage facilities at the Casino meet the requirements necessary for the Moderna vaccine. It does not meet the requirement for the Pfizer vaccine which requires deep freezing. As Johnson and Johnson or other vaccines are vetted and approved by the FDA, the Tribe may begin to offer those vaccines as well.
How Soon Can I Get the Vaccine? The Tribe is planning to have vaccination clinics on the Reservation on Saturdays starting February 20th. Because the Tribe will not have advance notice of how many doses it will have available to it each week, appointment windows will be added as additional doses arrive. As with many other vaccination appointment systems, if you do not see any open windows, please continue to check back.
Your patience with this process is greatly appreciated, and the Tribe promises it intends to vaccinate each person in the Tribal community who wishes to receive it.
How is the Tribe Going to Communicate About the Vaccine? One of the biggest challenges about COVID and especially vaccine efforts is how quickly things change day-to-day. This presents a communications challenge to the Tribe, as we typically use printed mail for communicating important news. In order to keep the membership as updated as possible in a timely manner, we have set up this website specifically for the Tribe’s vaccine effort. The Tribe will share links to the appointment tool, patient registration forms, and information about the vaccine, among other information.
We understand that not everyone likes to frequently access the internet for communications. Please make sure to check in on your loved ones to pass on the information shared on the vaccine website, and if you are an elder and would prefer to talk with someone about how to get vaccinated, please reach out to Anetta Townsend at 425-888-6551 ext. 4040, or on her direct cell at 425-786-4845 or email email@example.com
Where Do I Get Other Information about COVID? Utilizing funds from a CDC COVID grant, the Tribe has created the Snoqualmie Tribe Coronavirus Response Hub which hosts general COVID-19 information, maps, and resources from authoritative sources. The information on the Hub is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment. The information provided on the Hub was not created by the Tribe but is from reputable sources including the CDC, WHO, and local and state health departments.
The Snoqualmie Tribal Council hopes that all Tribal Members and their loved ones are observing all best practices to combat this virus, including social distancing, wearing a mask in the proper way, hand washing, and avoiding indoor interactions whenever possible. We will need to continue these practices even after being vaccinated. During this public emergency we need to do everything we can, even when potentially inconvenient for the individual, because it is for the betterment of the whole Tribal community. We are here because our ancestors were resilient, and we need to do what we can to remain strong as a Tribe.