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Stories, Stats, Impacts: Wyoming Public Media is here to keep you current on the news surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Shoshone Business Council expands COVID-19 vaccine incentive

The Eastern Shoshone flag has buffalo and two coup sticks on either side, with six feathers to represent the tribal council.
The Eastern Shoshone tribe

The Eastern Shoshone tribe has announced it’s expanding its COVID-19 vaccine incentive program to include children five years old and up.

Last year, the Eastern Shoshone tribe started a vaccine incentive program for tribal members to receive $500 for every fully vaccinated individual. Now, the tribe’s business council has approved a new round of applications for all tribal members of five years of age and up.

Karen Snyder with the Eastern Shoshone tribe said that for the first incentive program the tribe sent out almost 2,000 checks, which led to exceeding its vaccination goals.

“Because our goal at the time was we had wanted to have a 70 percent vaccination rate for our tribal members, and we exceeded that we actually vaccinated 86 percent,” Snyder said.

She said that the tribe encourages members to fill out the application online to avoid interaction with other people.

“We’re in a real crisis with our [COVID] numbers being so high from omicron. And the less that we can interact with people, the less that you can handle a paper that's been handled by another individual, the better off we are,” she said.

Applications for the new round of vaccine incentives will open up in early February.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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