Rock Hill’s Catawba tribe to make COVID-19 vaccine available to more Native Americans

·2 min read

The Catawba Indian Nation is offering members of other Native American tribes and their families a special opportunity to get COVID vaccines.

The Catawba Indian Nation’s on-site clinic, known as the Catawba Service Unit, is now offering vaccines to anyone over age 18 who is a member of any federally recognized tribe, or lives with, or is married to, a registered member of the Catawba Nation, a representative for the clinic told The Herald.

The Catawba Indian Nation, whose reservation is in Rock Hill, S.C., has received and administered their own vaccine supply. As a federally recognized tribe in South Carolina, the tribe is viewed as a sovereign government.

Native Americans are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the coronavirus-associated mortality rate among American Indians and Alaskan Natives was 1.8 times higher than that of non-Hispanic whites from Jan. 1 to June 30. The data included information gathered from 14 states with large Native American populations, but did not include South Carolina.

The Catawba reservation has stayed ahead of the state since the start of the vaccination rollout, offering vaccines to all members over the age 18 since January. Reservation officials told The Herald that the tribe has vaccinated members quickly and efficiently due to the small number of patients.

Gov. Henry McMaster and S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control officials deemed on Friday that all South Carolinians age 16 and older would be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine shot beginning March 31. That pushed the state into its final vaccine distribution phase, known as Phase 2.

Less than a month ago, South Carolina expanded coronavirus vaccine eligibility to more than half its population. Now, the state is moving into its final phase about a month ahead of schedule.

How to sign up for a vaccine

If you are part of a Native American group, you can call the the Catawba Service Unit at 803-372-5681 to see if you are eligible for the vaccine.

Those who are part of a federally recognized tribe will need to show a tribal ID card, said Laney Buckley, Director of Community Services for the Catawba Nation. Each tribe has different requirements to be registered for a tribal ID card.

Those who are not registered with a tribe but share a household with a tribal member must provide proof of a shared address, Buckley said.

Those who believe they are eligible for a Catawba tribal ID card and do not have one, can call Tribal Enrollment Coordinator Donna Curtis at (803) 366-4792 extension 253 or donna.curtis@catawbaindian.net.

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