The Gila River Indian Community is finalizing plan for COVID-19 vaccines

Emma Hughes
Gila River Indian News



The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to affect the U.S., reaching 16,317,892 cases and 300,032 deaths due to the virus. As of Dec. 13, the Gila River Indian Community reached 3,239 COVID-19 cases. 1,357 Community members; 302 of those members do not reside in the Community; 1,882 non-members, 149 of those positive cases reside in the Community. There have been 30 deaths among Community members due to the virus.


On Dec. 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the first emergency use of a vaccine. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be 95 percent effective against COVID-19. It will be administered in two doses, three weeks apart for individuals 16 years and older.  Some of the most commonly reported side effects of the vaccine are pain at the injection site, headache, tiredness, fever, chills, muscle and joint pain. It is unknown how long the vaccine will protect against the virus.


Currently, there is a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine but that is expected to increase in the upcoming weeks and months. Additional vaccines are being developed and tested.


Vaccination is intended to help the body develop an immunity to the COVID-19 virus without actually contracting the virus. While reinfection of COVID-19 is possible, the vaccine may still help those who have recovered from the virus


Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were shipped to more than 600 distribution sites in the U.S. on Dec. 14, including Arizona. “We are facing the greatest health challenge of our lifetime,” said Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. 

Maricopa County received the first batch of vaccines in the state. A second vaccine, Moderna could be available by next week.


The Gila River Indian Community and Gila River Health Care are creating a plan to receive and administer the vaccine. It is important to continue to wear a mask when around others, keep physical distance and stay home as much as possible unless conducting essential business to prevent the spread of the virus. 

For more information, visit the HUB at