Elma Thompson, FHBC Treasurer
By ROSELYNN YAZZIE
FORT HALL — Fort Hall Business Council Treasurer Elma Thompson is encouraging the Fort Hall community to get their COVID-19 vaccines after experiencing the illness firsthand.
In mid-February Thompson thinks she contracted the virus from her workplace, where she comes into contact everyday with people. She described her symptoms like a cold, with stuffy nose, cough, fatigue and minor sense of smell, loss of appetite due to a strange taste in her mouth. She didn't have a hard time breathing, but she had an ongoing fever. For the most part, she considers her symptoms fairly mild.
Only her, her son and daughter in law exhibited the symptoms, neither her husband or grandchildren got it. She said they were really thankful for the care package received by the Tribes, filled with food and PPE supplies.
Thompson’s able to get vaccinated in April because she had to wait for 90 days after her diagnosis. She’s thinking of getting the Moderna booster and vaccine.
Thompson thinks it’s important to take the vaccine because, “Not only are we responsible for ourselves, but our families and our community. I want to take it because we’re responsible for our membership — it’s my obligation and my duty, as a community member, tribal member and leadership that we are protecting and setting a good example for the people.”
She explained, according to their reports, in the beginning there was a surge of community members getting vaccinated, but then that slowed down. She said the clinics are really trying to do a push because they have to be efficient with their supply they need people fulfilling their appointments, so no vaccines go to waste.
She feels that according to what CDC is reporting they may not get to their goal of 75 percent of the community vaccinated for COVID-19, before they can get to the next stage, possibly October.
“We're a long way from where we need to be,” she said.
The FHBC approved a $50 gift card incentive for those who have been vaccinated, however they also still need to continue with testing to keep track of COVID-19 positive cases in the community.
She said, “If we can get people to agree to getting their vaccinations — we can heal as a community and we can start opening stuff up.”
She said there are people who don’t want to take the vaccination for their own reasons, they’re hoping the incentive will help with some of that. She recognizes some people are afraid of the side effects that may leave one feeling ill for a few days. She also says those who are vaccinated if they do test positive for COVID-19, chances are it’s not as harmful as if they were unvaccinated.
She wants people to look at the surrounding towns and recognize they’re in a hotspot. It’s apparent in other communities people don’t wear their masks. She asks people remain vigilant in masking up, frequently washing their hands and social distancing.
“It's scary. I can see how people can contract that by going out,” she said. “We’re trying to set the example by going out and taking care of our families, that would be the main thing.”