COVID-19 Vaccine rollout in Ho-Chunk Nation

By Ardith Van Riper

     Currently, the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine is limited throughout the United States.  To date, vaccines have been allocated to the Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Health (DOH) in small amounts and have not arrived consistently.  The DOH developed Tier groups using the most up to date best practices for prioritizing vaccine administration. 

     Information from the Centers for Disease Control, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, APIC (Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology), and John Hopkins have helped the department develop prioritization.

     The focus is on our very eldest Tribal members, who are at the most significant risk of death or adverse health outcomes if they contract COVID-19.  The DOH also focuses on Eminent Speakers, those vital to our community and continuing the Ho-Chunk way of life.

     The DOH has completed the vaccination of the Healthcare worker group, assisted living staff, and residence.  As of January 15, the DOH has administered 321 COVID-19 vaccines.

     As more vaccine becomes available, additional Tiers will be vaccinated in the coming weeks and months.  The goal of the DOH is to vaccinate our Tribal community members and facility employees.

     The DOH will notify those who fall into the different Tiers as more vaccine arrives.  Information about upcoming events will appear on the DOH website, Facebook page, and in the Hocak Worak.  Email with COVID-19 vaccine questions

     The DOH provides a pre-registration link on their website for Essential Workers in the next Tier.  Pre-registration is not required but does assist in speeding up the process the day of vaccination.

     Two locations identified for dispensing the vaccine by DOH include the House of Wellness in Baraboo and District 1 Community Center near Black River Falls.  There is no fee or charge for the vaccine.  Tribal members and employees must present either their tribal ID or Ho-Chunk Nation work badge.

     Those tribal members or employees who are not near these two locations can contact their Primary Provider or their County Public Health Department for information on when and where they can receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

     In the meantime, everyone is encouraged to continue taking steps to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19 by wearing a mask, social distancing, avoid large gatherings, and routinely wash hands.