Vaccine Update: Booster Shots

You may have heard that a third (3) vaccine dose against COVID-19 is now available for those who are fully vaccinated. Here’s what we’ve learned:

  • Anyone with a compromised immune system from cancer drugs, organ transplants, and so on can get a booster now. Check with your health care provider.
  • For everyone else who received their second (2) dose of vaccinations at least 8 months ago, booster will be available beginning September 20. Since the Suquamish Tribe was very early in getting our community and employees vaccinated, that means many of us will be eligible. We will send out additional information about where you can receive the third (3) dose once that information becomes available in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, a top priority is to make sure everyone in our community has received the regular vaccinations. This is especially urgent at this time when cases are at the highest rate ever within the Tribal community, and local emergency room facilities are reaching capacity. Please, if you haven’t already, make sure everyone in your family 12 and above is vaccinated. Doing this will help us get back to school and daily activities safely.

Information on the third (3) vaccine dose is attached and for additional information please contact Suquamish Tribe Community Health or your primary health care provider.

Thank you,

Cherrie May, Manager

Office of Emergency Management

 

MODERNA & PFIZER VACCINE 3rd VACCINATION DOSE AGAINST COVID–19 FOR THOSE WHO ARE IMMUNOCOMPROMISED AND GENERAL PUBLIC

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has modified the emergency use authorizations for the Pfizer and the Moderna Covid-19 vaccines to allow people with compromised immune systems to get a third (3) dose.  Public Health Officers are saying it is increasingly clear that many immunocompromised patients are still vulnerable to Covid-19 following vaccination because they may not get an effective immune response to the first 2 vaccinations.

According to the CDC, the list includes people who have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

It is highly recommended that you talk to their healthcare provider about your medical condition, and whether getting a third (3) dose is appropriate for you.

Why should immunocompromised people get a third (3) dose?

It’s harder for vaccines to rev up an immune system suppressed by certain medications and diseases, so those patients don’t always get the same protection as otherwise healthy people — and small studies suggest for at least some, an extra dose may be the solution.

When can eligible people get their third dose?

The FDA determined that transplant recipients and others with a similar level of compromised immunity can receive a third dose of the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna at least 28 days after getting their second shot.

Are there any risks with getting a third dose? What about side effects?

The CDC reports there is “limited information about the risks of receiving an additional dose of vaccine, and the safety, efficacy, and benefit of additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine in immunocompromised people continues to be evaluated.”

CDC has noted that side effects with the third vaccination “were similar to that of the two-dose series.”

The most common symptoms include fatigue and pain at the injection site, but “most symptoms were mild to moderate.”

As with previous doses of the vaccine, the CDC notes that, “serious side effects are rare, but may occur.”

Can you mix and match the vaccines?

For people who received either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine series, a third dose of the same mRNA vaccine should be used. A person should not receive more than three mRNA vaccine doses. If the mRNA vaccine product given for the first two doses is not available or is unknown, either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product may be administered.

When will COVID-19 third (3) dose be available for general public for those who have already received two (2) doses of a mRNA vaccine?

For people who have already received 2 doses of their mRNA vaccine you may receive a third (3) dose if you are 8 months out from your second (2) dose of mRNA beginning September 20, 2021.

 

Phase II “Complete” Burn Ban Now in Effect until Further Notice

Due to extreme fire danger, the Suquamish Tribal Council in coordination with the Kitsap Fire Marshal and local fire departments has imposed a Phase II – Complete Ban on all outdoor burning, effective July 10, 2021 until further notice.
Under the Phase II – Complete Burn Ban, all outdoor burning is prohibited, including small recreational fires, cooking fires, and the use of charcoal briquettes. Only natural or propane gas barbeques are allowed and should only be used on hard non-combustible surfaces.
Fire departments are experiencing unseasonable increases in wildland fire responses throughout the Western part of the State. Higher than normal temperatures and extended dry conditions are likely to continue. Lower than normal rain rainfall will worsen fire risk in a landscape that’s already dry. Outdoor fires are the leading cause of wildland fires, sparking nearly 85% of all vegetation blazes.
For further information regarding the burn ban please contact Eric Quitslund, Suquamish Tribe’s Office of Emergency Management Operations officer at equitslund@suquamish.nsn.us.

Suquamish Tribe Vaccine Distribution Approach

The following vaccine distribution approach was approved by Tribal Council in November.

The first delivery of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived on Dec. 28. The next day, the Tribe received our medical standing orders allowing us to begin dispensing the vaccine. Our medical and support staff were then vaccinated so mass vaccinations could begin for our wider community.

 

The Emergency Operations Staff thank you for your patience and understanding as we move through this difficult time.

If you have any questions regarding this vaccine distribution approach, please contact us at covid_questions@suquamish.nsn.us

Suquamish Tribe Prepares to Vaccinate General Membership

COVID-19 Vaccinations continue for Tribal Elders

The Suquamish Tribe Government was notified its second 600-dose shipment of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is on the way and should arrive next week.

That shipment will come just as the Tribe is wrapping up distribution of the first 600-dose lot of vaccines that it began administering to Tribal Elders on Jan. 4. A small group of medical and support staff needed to distribute the vaccine began getting their vaccines on Dec. 30.

The new shipment sets the stage to begin vaccinating the Tribe’s general membership next week. “We should be able to begin vaccinating general Tribal membership households starting on Jan. 14” May said. “That timeline hinges on our next round of doses arriving as we’ve been promised,” she added.

Meanwhile, most Elders – all Tribal members 55 years old and above, as well as their spouses/partners – who want the vaccine are expected to be vaccinated by the end of this week. Additional front-line Tribal staff and first responders are also receiving the vaccine.

“Our next focus will be on vaccinating the Tribal staff needed to provide essential services and support to our Tribal people,” said May.

That will include members of the Tribe’s Human Services Department, which is responsible for Elder care, veterans services, assistance programs, and health benefits, among others. Staff at the Marion Forsman-Boushie Early Learning Center and Chief Kitsap Academy will also be among the next round of vaccinations, as well as Suquamish Seafoods operations.

“We’ve got to get the teachers and childcare providers inoculated so that our people with kids can work,” said May. “The immediate priority now, over the next few days, is on getting vaccinations to those who provide essential services to Tribal members and keep the government running.”

After Tribal households are vaccinated, remaining government staff will receive their shots.

Suquamish Tribe interim Co-executive Director Scott Crowell noted the Tribe has been able to get vaccinations moving to its members with record speed, with more doses now being ordered weekly.

Indeed, for the rest of Washington State, the vast majority of vaccination efforts are still focused on getting health care providers inoculated while health districts grapple with the logistics and training needed for rolling mass vaccinations.

“We were able to get our first 600 doses pretty quickly. If we are able to get more doses at that rate, I think we should be able to have everyone vaccinated – hopefully – by the end of January,” said Crowell.

Suquamish Tribe Chairman Leonard Forsman said the speed with which the Tribe has been able to begin delivering vaccines is directly connected to weeks of hard work by Tribal staff.

“I’d like to emphasize all the planning that’s made this process so smooth,” said Forsman. “My hands are up to the people in the Human Services Department and Emergency Operation Center. I’m really impressed with all the hard work they had to do, even during the Christmas holiday, to get this set up. The EOC, headed up by Cherrie May, and Human Services led by Nehreen Ayub, and also the important work of our Community Health nurse, Dr. Barbara Hoffman, have all done a great job coordinating staff to make this vaccination a great success so far.”

COVID-19 Vaccination Resources

Suquamish Tribe has begun COVID-19 vaccinations. The following resources are intended to help answer questions and provide resources to Tribal members and their families. Click on the links to view the documents. Each link will bring up a PDF, so you can also save to your computer for printing or viewing later.

COVID-19 Vaccination – What to Expect
Because COVID-19 is a new disease requiring new vaccines, you may have questions about what happens before, during, and after your vaccination appointment. These tips outline what to expect when you get vaccinated, what information your provider will give you, and what resources you can use to monitor your health after you are vaccinated.

Moderna Vaccine – 10 Quick FAQs
Here’s a quick one-sheet Q&A on the Moderna vaccine, which is the specific vaccine Suquamish Tribal Council has decided to provide.

COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions
Got more questions? We’ve got more answers! Here’s a more lengthy Q&A rundown. If you still have unanswered questions – or have concerns or comments – email Covid_Questions@suquamish.nsn.us and the appropriate Tribal Government staff member will respond as soon as possible.

Vaccination Screening and Consent Form
You will need to read and sign this form will prior to getting your vaccination. A copy will be provided at the vaccination site, but if you want to save time, you can print it out and sign it now.

V-safe Information Sheet
V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to check on you. And v-safe will remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose. Click here to learn more.

Tribe welcomes New Year with COVID-19 Vaccinations

 

As the sun sets on 2020, the Suquamish Tribe begins COVID-19 vaccinations.

A small group of healthcare providers and support staff received their first doses this week. That sets the stage for mass vaccinations, starting with Tribal Elders, beginning on Monday, Jan. 4.

In this New Year’s Eve video, Interim Suquamish Tribe Co-Directors Scott Crowell and Jamie Gooby provide details on how vaccinations for the Tribe will unfold in the coming days and weeks as the Tribe looks forward to 2021.

Suquamish Tribe COVID-19 Testing Site: Holiday Closure Schedule

The Tribal Government offices, and therefore the Tribal Covid-19 testing site, will be closed Dec. 18 – Jan. 3

We will resume testing on:

Monday, Jan. 4, 2021 from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm

 

The following list includes other testing sites that can be used.  We have called and verified the information, however, we recommend you call first.  Be sure you take your insurance cards.

  

Immediate Clinic Poulsbo

(360) 779-7011

COVID-19 testing center

Appointment required- schedule appointment online

Referral not required

Testing for all patients

Hours: 8am-8pm

 

Franciscan Medical Clinic- Bainbridge Island

COVID-19 testing center

Appointment required- call (206) 201-0488 to schedule

Referral not required

Testing for all patients

Hours:

M-F: 7am-6:30pm, Sa-Sun: 8am-4:30pm

Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Open until noon Christmas Eve

Open until 5pm New Year’s Eve

 

The Doctors Clinic Ridgetop East

(360) 782-3400

COVID-19 testing center

Appointment not required

Referral not required

Testing people with COVID symptoms or recent/probable exposure

Hours:

M-F: 9am-7pm, Sa-Sun: 9am-5pm

Closed Christmas

 

Harrison Belfair Urgent Care

(360) 277-2975

COVID-19 testing center

Appointment not required

Referral not required

Testing for all patients

Hours:

M-F: 7:30am-7:30pm, Sa-Sun 7:30am-7:30pm

Christmas: 9am-4pm

 

Kitsap County Community COVID testing sites:

Appointment required for Kitsap County community COVID testing. Register online here or by phone at (360) 728-2235.

 

Kitsap County Fairgrounds

1336  NW Fairgrounds Rd

Bremerton, WA

Center the grands by Gordon Field

Monday to Thursday 10am -3pm

360-728-2235

 

Kitsap Conference Center

Bremerton Harborside Parking Garage  level 2 green

100 Washington Ave

Bremerton
Tuesday only 10am to 3pm

360-758-2235

 

Poulsbo City Hall

200 Moe Street NE

Poulsbo

Friday only 9am to 2:30

360-728-2235

 

Suquamish Government Picks Moderna Vaccine for Distribution to Tribal Community

Tribe Now Entering Critical Period to Prevent Spread of Disease

The Suquamish Tribal Council, following the recommendation of the Tribe’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Barbara Hoffman, has decided to provide the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Tribal membership and staff as it becomes available.

The Moderna vaccine is expected to gain approval for emergency use from the Food and Drug Administration this week. While it remains unclear how quickly mass vaccinations will begin, Tribal officials expect the first small batches of doses to begin arriving shortly after the New Year with additional supplies increasing over the following weeks.

Tribal officials have prioritized vaccinations to Elders and those most at-risk from COVID-19, as well as continuity of government to ensure leaders and critical staff are able to keep distribution moving.

“We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but that tunnel is still pretty long,” says EOC Manager Cherrie May. “It will still be several months before we can get everyone vaccinated.”

That’s why it is so important for everyone to continue staying focused on preventing the spread of the virus.

“Wear your masks, keep your distances, and please – please – don’t gather outside your immediate households. I know that will be hard during the holidays, but it is so important. We really can pull together right now, by staying apart.”

Kitsap County and the Suquamish Tribe, like much of the country, is seeing a surge in positive cases. The spike is largely attributed to extended families and friends gathering together for Thanksgiving.

“Let’s not make that same mistake here over Christmas and New Year’s,” says May. “The risk is too big. The consequences are too severe. The lives of our loved ones are at stake.”

 

Picking Moderna

Meanwhile, Tribal staff are hard at work preparing for vaccine distribution.

The Tribal Council had the choice of two vaccines — one offered by Pifzer and the other by Moderna.

“In close consultation with our medical experts, we determined the Moderna vaccine provided the best option for our community,” says Hoffman.

The vaccines are more similar than they are different, with the exception of how they are stored

The Moderna vaccine is about 95 percent effective. It requires two doses, about a month apart, to achieve that high level of effectiveness.  This is a new type of vaccine that helps people create virus-fighting antibodies without actually infecting them with COVID-19.

And, finally, some people will feel the same short-term, flu-like side effects from either vaccine. Health experts at FDA and CDC stress that most side effects are a sign that the vaccine is working as intended.

Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, which has more demanding frozen storage and distribution protocols, Moderna’s vaccine can be stored four degrees below zero, which is a standard freezer temperature. After it’s thawed, it can be administered for up to 30 days.

“The logistics of providing the vaccine to the entire Tribal community will be unprecedented for us,” says May. “A lot of work is going into planning and preparing for that, so getting the increased flexibility that Moderna gives us is huge.”

 

Side effects are a good sign

They may not feel like it at the time, but most side effects from the vaccine are a good thing, say health experts.

“They show the body is doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing,” says Suquamish Tribe’s Public Health Officer Dr. Barbara Hoffman. “It shows that your immune system is working by creating the antibodies you need to fight off the disease.”

Potential side effects include pain or swelling at the injection site, muscle and joint aches, fever, nausea, and headache.

“The most common side effects noted in vaccine trials were pain and swelling at the injection site,” says Hoffman. “For most study participants, side effects were mild to moderate and subsided within one to three days.

But don’t worry if you don’t feel those side effects, she says. “It’s still working. The vast majority of those who get both doses – and it’s really important everyone gets both doses – will be protected.”