Santee Sioux Offering Vaccination Incentives

SANTEE, Neb. — To combat COVID-19, the Santee Sioux Nation is offering gift cards for resident tribal members receiving vaccinations during the next 10 days.

The incentive begins today (Tuesday) and runs through Sept. 17, according to the tribal Facebook page.

According to the notice, the person will receive $200 in Walmart gift cards to get vaccinated for COVID-19. The individual will receive $100 following the first shot and the remaining $100 after the second shot a month later.

In order to qualify for the special incentive, the person must meet three conditions:

• be at least 18 years old;

• reside or have permanent residence within the boundaries of the Santee Sioux reservation;

• receive the COVID-19 vaccination series at the Santee Health Center.

Vaccinations can be scheduled by contacting Dava Mier, Public Health Nurse (PHN) at the Santee Health Center, at (402) 857-2300.

The Facebook page also includes a tribal COVID task force update from last Friday (Sept. 3).

Currently, the tribe reports three positive tests coming off status within a few days. As of Aug. 31, there were no new positive tests on the Santee Sioux reservation to date.

During the last three to four weeks, the tribe has recorded up to 16 positive cases.

As for food assistance, the tribe currently does not have the funds to provide the aid. However, qualifying persons can still apply for the TEA program.

In another matter, the tribal employee vaccine mandate remains in place and covers workers on the reservation and within the school system.

Also, isolation for quarantine has been updated in accordance with tribal and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines posted a few weeks ago.

Precautions for all tribal entities and businesses on the reservation have been delegated to those individual business and programs.

The tribe has received several reports of persons who have tested positive or have been considered close contact who are not quarantining, according to the Facebook post.

‘At this time, there is still an executive order in place for law enforcement to cite and fine those individuals,” the social media post said. “The tribe is not monitoring quarantines due to a few reasons, release of medical information and no personnel or funding for public security. We entrust our people to have common sense and to follow the basic guidelines for positive or close contact cases.”

Tribal leaders and health officials are urging members to take personal responsibility for combating COVID-19.

“It is imperative that those in our community follow the precautions with regard to positive case and quarantine. Reduce the spread of the virus by being vigilant and having common sense,” the post said. “If you are an employee of the tribe, each tribal employer has the discretion on how to deal with employees not following the general precautions of the COVID-19 precautions.”

The tribe has lost members during the pandemic, and precautions must be taken to protect each person and those around them, according to the Facebook post.

“The Santee Sioux Nation tribal task force and tribal council urge all tribal and community members to always be vigilant and follow precautions, wear masks and (practice) social distancing when in public,” the post said.

“Not following guidelines or precautions is reckless and could further make our people sick. Our tribe has lost family members to COVID in the last year and would hate to see that happen further.”

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