New Deadline Announced for Tribes to Choose COVID-19 Vaccine Plan

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on today’s national webinar hosted by the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), that Operation Warp Speed has approved a one week extension for Tribes with healthcare facilities to determine their vaccine distribution preference. HHS sent a Dear Tribal Leader Letter urging that Tribes with healthcare facilities now have until November 6 to contact the Indian Health Service (IHS) to indicate if they would like to be included in IHS’ distribution or contact their state health authority if they want to be included in the state’s distribution.

The expedited deadline for Tribes to respond with their decision quickly became one of NIHB’s top concerns. In regard to the Administration’s evolving plans to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, NIHB continues to offer a platform for Tribes to participate in national Tribal advocacy efforts to ensure the Tribes’ voices are heard. NIHB commends the work of national and regional Tribal organizations, along with all Tribes across Indian Country, to make certain that the concerns of Tribal Nations are acknowledged and addressed. NIHB, with nine other organizations, submitted a letter to HHS Secretary Azar asking for an extension of the deadline, more information on the vaccine plans, and greater flexibility for Tribes.

Tribes are encouraged to reach out to their state health authority and their IHS Area Office COVID Vaccine Point of Contact to better understand the details of their COVID-19 plans to help make this decision based on the information available to date. For general questions or concerns the CDC’s Federal Entities Planning Team can be contacted at CDC IMS 2019 NCOV Response VTF Federal Entities Planning TM at [email protected].

Indian Health Service Area Vaccine Point of Contacts

The new deadline is November 6, 2020.

  • If your Tribe already submitted its preference and wishes to keep its decision, no further action is needed. Tribes can choose to receive the vaccine through their IHS Area Office or state health authority.
  • If your Tribe already submitted its preference and wishes to change its decision, please contact [email protected] to make a correction.

NIHB Resources on HHS/IHS COVID-19 Vaccine Planning

For questions or more information, please contact Carolyn Hornbuckle, Chief Operations Officer and Director of Policy at [email protected].