Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Receives Moderna Vaccine

SWO DARE Covid-19 Response Team
LCDR Alverson stand with newly arrived Moderna COVID-19 vaccine


Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate officials are vaccinating frontline workers and elders with the Moderna vaccine.

The first of 300 vaccine doses will go to healthcare providers, doctors, nurses and inhouse employees who deal with the public every day.

The tribe will then vaccinate law enforcement and first responders. The rest of the doses will go to elders.

Allison Renville is a spokesperson for the tribe’s DARE Covid 19 response team.

She says some people have concerns about the vaccine, but a majority of tribal members support and trust the healthcare industry.

“There’s a good amount of people who are willing to get it, but there’s also more of a push for our elders to get it,” Renville says. “Because of the fact that we’re losing language keepers and knowledge keepers every single day. Our reservation, here, has lost a couple handfuls, so far, of people to the virus. We can’t afford to lose any more.”

The Sisseton tribe received the Moderna vaccine at the Woodrow Wilson Keeble Memorial Health Care Center on Monday morning. That’s where shots will be administered until the next vaccination phase.

Renville says tribal members should make sure their contact information is up to date with Indian Health Service. They will get a call when it’s their turn for the vaccine.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.