Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (Michigan)
Posted: December 30, 2020

Sault Tribe Health Director Dr. Leo Chugunov was administered the the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by Clinic Manager Carrie Horton, RN, on December 16, 2020. The tribe received another set of Pfizer doses on December 29. Photo courtesy Sault Tribe


DECEMBER 30, 2020 

Sault Tribe receives nearly 1,000 vaccines from Pfizer

NOTE: The letter posted below has been updated by the Sault Tribe to confirm that there is no residency requirement for elders to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

SAULT STE. MARIE, Michigan — Sault Tribe received 975 doses of vaccine on Tuesday, Dec. 29, from Pfizer. Health Director Dr. Leo Chugunov said he had expected only 185 doses, which was the number of the initial shipment.  

Chugunov said the unexpectedly large shipment left him and the Health Division staff scrambling to reschedule appointments and obtain more needles and syringes, because some shipments of the vaccine didn’t contain. 

The Health Division is working on plans to distribute the vaccine according to a priority list. Health Division team members, elders and non-Health Division critical workers are at the top of the priority list. 


The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians received its first shipment of COVID-19 doses via U.S. Coast Guard helicopter on the evening of December 15, 2020. Photo courtesy Sault Tribe

Meanwhile, those who received a vaccine from the initial Pfizer shipment are scheduled to receive their second dose on Jan. 5. Anyone who received the vaccine from the first Moderna shipment is to receive the second dose on Jan. 19. 

Tribal Health officials have posted a message on their website and plan to place ads with local radio stations and will try to reach elders by phone to arrange for vaccinations. 

Posted below is a copy of the Health Division letter to elders: 


Dear Sault Tribe Elders (60-plus), 

Next week, the Sault Tribe Health Division in Sault Ste. Marie will be holding a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic by appointment only for Sault Tribal Elders age 60-plus. No non-Native spouses will be scheduled at this time. Please bring a tribal ID to your scheduled COVID-19 vaccination appointment. If this is your second COVID-19 vaccination, please also bring your vaccination card with you to your appointment.

Future COVID-19 vaccination appointments for Sault Tribal Elders (60-plus) are being scheduled at the rural tribal sites. Please, call the Tribal Health Center nearest to you for more information. 

Contact numbers are: 

Newberry – (906) 293-8181 

Manistique – (906) 341-8469 

Munising – (906) 387-4721 

St. Ignace – (906) 643-8689 

If you are a Sault Tribe member (60-plus) and have not already contacted the Sault Tribe Health Division regarding your COVID-19 vaccination, please call (906) 632-5200, ext. 45200, to schedule your COVID-19 vaccination appointment. We will take calls from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31, 2020, and Jan. 4, 2021, to assist you with scheduling your appointment. 

Vaccinations will be performed: 

Jan. 5 at Big Bear Arena in Sault Ste. Marie from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Jan. 6 at Big Bear Arena in Sault Ste. Marie from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Jan. 7 at Big Bear Arena in Sault Ste. Marie from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. 

Chi Miigwech. 

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