COVID-19

COVID-19, Vaccines, and PGST’s response in 2021

Issued August 23, 2021

From the start of the pandemic, PGST leaders have made their priority clear: do everything possible to keep the community safe from COVID-19. This has meant making some very difficult decisions and asking everyone—community members and staff alike—to do their part to achieve a singular goal of health and safety for all. People met the challenge; staying home, masking up, and taking care of one another to help minimize COVID-19’s impact.

Now, even with the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, there has been a summer surge of the disease across our region and the country. It has become necessary to take additional steps to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of the PGST community and staff.

What is PGST doing to keep its community and staff safe from COVID-19 in 2021?
PGST has always relied on the advice of health care professionals when making decisions throughout this pandemic. This includes Health Services Director Jolene Sullivan, as well as long-time Community Health Center physicians Dr. Scott Lindquist and Dr. Luke McDaniel.

The Tribe has implemented a three-prong strategy to fight the current phase of COVID-19:

  • Masking. No matter an individual’s vaccination status, masks or other face coverings that cover the nose and mouth are required everywhere on Tribal campus. This includes indoor and outdoor locations.
  • Testing. As of August 13, 2021, all employees are being tested once a week. This includes government, business, and Foundation employees and is independent of vaccination status.
  • Vaccines. On August 23, Tribal Council approved a vaccine mandate for all staff. This includes government, business, and Foundation employees, who must show proof of full vaccination by November 1, 2021.

 

Non-staff PGST community members aged 12+ are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Why has PGST issued a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for staff?
The ongoing emergency of COVID presents new challenges necessitating more stringent efforts, including a requirement for immunization. The science has proven that vaccines are one of the best tools available to contain the virus. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective.

If you are a PGST government, business, or Foundation employee and have questions about the mandate, please talk to your supervisor and Human Resources.

Are there other protocols that the Tribe has put in place?
Yes. You can find the current COVID-19 safety protocols here.

What can I do to keep myself and my community safe?
Follow the Tribe’s protocols and their COVID-19 strategy:

  • Mask up whenever you’re in public, especially in crowds or around people who might be unvaccinated.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms that include headache, body aches, cough, congestion, fever, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell, among others.
  • Get vaccinated. If you have concerns about the vaccine, contact the PGST Community Health Center at 360-297-2840. They are there to answer your questions. You can also find helpful information and links below from trusted sources about the virus and the vaccine.

 

ABOUT THE VACCINE

I’m not vaccinated because I have safety or other health related concerns. Who can I talk to?
Contact the PGST Community Health Center at 360-297-2840. A health care professional will answer your questions without any judgement. Their goal is to make sure you have the best information to help you make your vaccine decision.

Where can I get vaccinated? Will it cost me anything?
COVID-19 vaccines are readily available without an appointment at most places with a pharmacy. In Kitsap County, you can get vaccinated at CVS, Rite Aid, Costco, Safeway, and Wal-Mart, among other locations.

The PGST Community Health Center is also offering vaccinations every Tuesday. Schedule your appointment here.

The COVID-19 vaccine is offered free-of-charge at all locations.

If I’ve already had COVID-19, do I still need to be vaccinated?
Yes. It is unclear how long protection lasts after recovering from COVID-19. Vaccinations also seem to provide more robust protections: one study showed unvaccinated people who had recovered from COVID-19 were more than two times as likely than the fully vaccinated to contract the virus again.

Will the vaccine make me sick?
There are some reported side effects from the vaccine. The most common are soreness of the arm where you received the injection, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, and fever. These typically resolve within a few days.

Many people have been vaccinated and experienced no side effects. 

Do I have to get both doses of the vaccine?
To be considered fully vaccinated, you must receive both doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Under the PGST mandate, all staff must show proof of full vaccination by November 1, 2021.

If I am vaccinated, does that mean I don’t have to worry about getting sick with COVID-19?
No vaccine for any disease is 100% effective, so, while uncommon, there are cases of vaccinated individuals becoming ill with COVID-19. These are known as “breakthrough cases.”

According to an August 18 report from the Washington State Department of Health, of the 7,483 cases of COVID reported among those aged 18-34 from February through July 2021, only 4% were in fully vaccinated individuals. For ages 35-49, only 6.3% were breakthrough cases.

The report’s data is even more encouraging when it comes to hospitalizations and deaths, showing that the vaccines are extremely effective at protecting against the worst outcomes of COVID-19.

Can my child be vaccinated?
The Pfizer vaccine has been tested and approved for all individuals aged 12+. Clinical trials are ongoing for those under the age of 12.

What should I do with my vaccination card?
Keep it someplace safe. You should also consider taking pictures of the front and back of the card. Keep these on your phone or computer. Make a photocopy of your card if you want to carry a paper version in your wallet.

Do not share pictures of your card on social media or with others.

I lost my vaccination card. What do I do?
Never fear! There are a couple of options for people who have misplaced their vaccination card:

  • Check in with the clinic or location that gave you the vaccine. They might be able to issue you a new card.
  • Access your immunization records via MyIRmobile.com. Here you can get official, verified proof of your vaccination status for free. This site acts as a pathway to access this data through Washington state records.

 

HELPFUL LINKS

PLEASE be careful about the information you consume about COVID-19 and its vaccines. It is important to trust the science and credible medical professionals about something as important as you and your family’s health.

To help you answer any questions you might have, here are some helpful links from medical sources trusted by PGST Community Health Center leaders:

COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions
Source: Washington State Department of Health

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness
Source: Washington State Department of Health

Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Possible Side Effects After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

REPORT: COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths in Persons Who Are NOT Fully Vaccinated (August 18, 2021)
Source: Washington State Department of Health

Additional links you and your family might find useful:

Port Gamble S’Klallam Vaccine Clinic Appointment Scheduler

Find COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments Near You
Source: Washington State Department of Health
NOTE: Type in any zip code in Washington state and find every available location for a COVID-19 vaccine within 50 miles.

COVID-19 Updates and Resources
Source: Kitsap County Public Health District
NOTE: On this page, you can find current case counts, positivity rates, and directives related to Kitsap County.

Fall 2021 School Reopening Plans
Source: North Kitsap School District

Statewide COVID-19 News
Source: Office of Washington Governor Jay Inslee
NOTE: On this page, you can find the latest news related to directives and guidance from Governor Inslee.

Vaccination Card Information
Source: Washington State Department of Health
Note: On this page, you can find tips to keep your card safe, plus what to do if you misplace your vaccination card.

Back to top