Oglala Sioux Tribe vaccine roll out spurs recent drop in new COVID-19 cases

Vaccine roll out has been a major tool for the Oglala Sioux Tribe as its new COVID-19 cases continue to be minimal over the past several months.

PINE RIDGE, S.D. — Surges throughout the pandemic caused a few shutdowns of the Pine Ridge Reservation, and even road blockades meant to stop and screen those coming in.

At one point in the month of September, the Oglala Sioux Tribe was reporting about 200-300 cases per day.

But the tides have changed.

In the last 10 days, OST has reported a total of 10 positive cases throughout its reservation. In fact, it hasn’t reported more than 14 cases since January 5.

So why the change?

Of course, wearing masks and social distancing have played a role but OST officials say that vaccine roll out has helped slow the spread.

“We’re really pushing vaccinations, so that’s another thing and we know people are hesitant and we’re trying to work with that but we were ahead of getting vaccines out then a lot of places,” said Alicia Mousseau, the Vice President of OST. “A lot of tribes were ahead of that curve in getting the vaccines out.”

After the distribution status of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was placed on pause, questions arose for those that received the vaccine.

Ost Vax 5

However, OST says the J & J vaccine hasn’t been widely distributed throughout its reservation.

“We have weekly updates for our community and we try to get that out, what we know so far,” Mousseau said. “We have used some of it, not very much though. The majority has been Moderna and Pfizer.”

According to OST, over 4,600 people have been fully vaccinated, with around 40 who have received the J&J Vaccine.

The OST continues to update its Facebook page with the latest vaccination sites and information. A vaccination site is set to take place this Saturday, April 17 at Pine Ridge Elementary School. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

A shot in arm that is making a difference.

Categories: ConnectCenter1-Events, Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News