The Navajo Nation has been hit especially hard by the pandemic. Over 29,000 Navajo citizens have been infected, with over 1,000 COVID fatalities reported. Efforts to get vaccines on tribal lands are showing signs of promise and the nation’s goal of 100,000 vaccinated by the end of the month looks possible. President Jonathan Nez spoke about all of this and more in this conversation.
At the beginning of the interview, President Nez gave an update on vaccinations on tribal land. “Right now we received a big shipment over the week of 28,000+ vaccines, which is a big delivery on top of what we already receive weekly. Many of that was already put into the arms of our Navajo citizens over the week. As you may know we did have a 57 hour weekend curfew for some time, we had to open the weekend, we needed all seven days to vaccinate as many people as we can so Saturdays and Sundays have been very big turnout for vaccination.” He went on to say that data was only updated until February 12th.
President Nez also stated that they have put a total of 90,496 vaccine shots in the arms of Navajo people, with approximately 21,000 of those being second doses.
“I’ve been challenging our team,” he explained, “to stay above the 70% threshold in what we receive and getting them into the arms and that way it makes it easier for me to advocate for more doses from the federal government through the IHS and the white house as well. So far we are in line with reaching our 100,000 shot goal by the end of this month but i think we’re gonna hit that goal by the end of this week.”
President Nez said that they have been getting their citizens the answers to whatever questions they may have about the vaccine and because of that the confidence in the vaccine on tribal lands is high, allowing them to distribute the vaccine efficiently.