Chickasaw Nation vital to success of Oklahoma vaccination rate

NORMAN — Oklahoma has one of the best vaccination rates in the U.S., and the state’s Native American tribes have contributed to this success.

Across America, more than 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are being administered. Oklahoma is slightly ahead of the national average of distributions and the Chickasaw Nation is a big reason why.

“The last number I saw was somewhere around 32,000 people that we’ve vaccinated,” said Bill Anoatubby, Governor of the Chickasaw Nation. “It’s not like the state, who’s vaccinated about 1 million, I think, which is about 25 percent. But it’s still a good feeling to know that you’ve been able to help people.

Less than three months after receiving the vaccine, the Chickasaw Nation announced it would be offering vaccines to anyone, including those with no tribal affiliation living outside of Oklahoma.

“I do know that we’ve served a lot of people outside of the state,” Anoatubby said. “Primarily we’ve served Oklahomans and we will continue to do that. But we will serve anyone that wants to schedule an appointment.”

People who have received their vaccine through the Chickasaw Nation said that the process was easy and want to encourage more people to reach out to the Native tribe to get vaccinated.

“They have a super, super efficient system going on, and whenever I was there, literally every single person I spoke to told me to tell my friends that we are now opened up to every Oklahoman,” Addison Kliewer, a Chickasaw Native, said.

The Chickasaw Nation has released guidelines for securing a vaccination from the tribe, including booking your appointment online at Recipients must upload a photo of their identification card when scheduling the appointment.

Appointments can be scheduled in Ada, Okla., or at one of the Chickasaw Nation satellite health clinics in Purcell, Ardmore or Tishomingo.

Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.