Choctaw Nation Aids State Health with Vaccinations

January 11, 2021

DURANT, Okla. – On Jan. 6, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) successfully delivered its first round of COVID-19 vaccinations to Bryan County residents. The life-saving measure was held at the Choctaw Event Center with Choctaw Nation staff on hand to assist.

Kenneth Eppler, director of Durant Emergency Management, said the opening phase of vaccine delivery was an “overwhelming success” and that he was informed the nurses involved were “over the moon” about how the day went.

Appointments had been made online in advance by 800 people seeking the free vaccination. By days end, registered nurses from OSDH had inoculated 814 residents of Bryan County age 65 and older, frontline health workers and first responders. No one was turned away. There reportedly were short lines, short waiting times and practically no lines after the first two hours of the eight-hour event.

Appointments were made for all recipients to receive part two of their Moderna vaccinations on Feb. 3.

Vaccinations for the public will continue weekly, which for this month include Jan. 13, 20 and 27. Doors will open at 10 a.m. for those with an appointment at the Choctaw Event Center, U.S. 75 and Choctaw Road.

“We will be returning to give vaccinations every Wednesday at the Choctaw Event Center for as long as needed,” said Paul Gilbert, incident commander with OSDH.

Joining the cooperative effort with the 30 state health workers and nearly a dozen Choctaw Nation Emergency Management and Choctaw Nation Department of Commerce staff members were personnel from the Oklahoma National Guard and Bryan County Emergency Management.

There are various ways to contact registration for the COVID-19 inoculation. Gilbert recommends using facebook.com/OklahomaHealth. Another way is to visit vaccinate.oklahoma.gov.

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Photo by Charles Clark/Choctaw Nation
Carminia Magly, left, and Amber Gammon with Choctaw Nation Emergency Management assist with Bryan County’s first round of COVID-19 vaccinations on Jan. 6 at the Choctaw Event Center in Durant. “We’re here to help in any way we can,” said Magly.
 

Photo by Charles Clark/Choctaw Nation
Traffic is kept flowing in the Choctaw Event Center parking lot on the cold, windy and wet morning as Bryan County’s first round of COVID-19 vaccinations is delivered on Jan. 6.
 

Photo by Charles Clark/Choctaw Nation
Keri Wayman, RN, with the Pushmataha County office of the Oklahoma State Health Department, works one of the six vaccination booths inside the Choctaw Event Center on Jan. 6.
 

Photo by Charles Clark/Choctaw Nation
Oklahoma State Health Department representatives said 800 Bryon County residents had pre-registered online for the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations given Jan. 6 at the Choctaw Event Center in Durant. Vaccination distributions, free of cost to the public, are planned for each Wednesday through the next several weeks at the Choctaw Event Center.

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About The Choctaw Nation

The Choctaw Nation is the third-largest Indian Nation in the United States with more than 200,000 tribal members and 10,000-plus associates. This ancient people has an oral tradition dating back over 13,000 years. The first tribe over the Trail of Tears, its historic reservation boundaries are in the southeast corner of Oklahoma, covering 10,923 square miles. The Choctaw Nation’s vision, “Living out the Chahta Spirit of faith, family and culture,” is evident as it continues to focus on providing opportunities for growth and prosperity. For more information about the Choctaw Nation, its culture, heritage and traditions, please go to www.choctawnation.com.