Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 vaccines safe, highly effective

Chickasaw Nation utilizing both products

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

Much like other common vaccines, such as flu immunizations, chickenpox, hepatitis, HPV and more, the COVID-19 vaccines help bodies develop immunity to the virus. Vaccines work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if exposed.

Unlike some vaccines, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines do not contain a live virus. Instead, these vaccines help by building antibodies to protect you if you are exposed.

“Our public health experts and I would like to see everyone who can get vaccinated do so when possible,” Chickasaw Nation Secretary of Health Dr. Charles Grim said. “Experts say the United States needs to vaccinate 75-80% of our population to protect more people from getting sick, hospitalized or worse, dying from COVID-19.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set up strict standards that COVID-19 vaccine developers must meet. In addition, the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health will only recommend the use of vaccines it considers safe.

“I will ask my family to be vaccinated once it is available to them and their population groups, because the vaccine is 95-97% effective, and it is safe,” Dr. Grim said. “The likelihood of a serious reaction to the vaccine is less than 0.5%, which means fewer than five people in every thousand have had a serious reaction.”

The Chickasaw Nation currently offers the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, both authorized by the FDA for use in the U.S. The vaccines were created using a new, but not unknown, technology based on the molecular structure of the virus. Researchers have been studying and working with this new technology for decades.

The CDC confirms the vaccines are safe and effective, and have been put through some of the most extensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. The FDA carefully reviewed the data from every phase of every vaccine trial. Please visit HopkinsMedicine.org for a list of reasons why the COVID-19 vaccines were developed faster than other vaccines.

Those who have recently had COVID-19 are encouraged to get the vaccine as soon as they recover. There is no 90-day waiting period unless the patient received treatment for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma.

Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. Current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection.

However, experts don’t know for certain how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity.

COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from COVID-19 by creating an antibody (immune system) response without having to experience sickness. The vaccination can also limit your body’s ability to carry and infect others in your household.

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