Navajo Nation Begins Mass Vaccinations After Lifting Lockdown Order

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 31, 2020 at Gallup Indian Medical Center in Gallup, N.M.

Noel Lyn Smith/USA Today Network via Reuters

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Noel Lyn Smith/USA Today Network by means of Reuters

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez gets the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 31, 2020 at Gallup Indian Medical Center in Gallup, N.M.

Noel Lyn Smith/USA Today Network by means of Reuters

” Were going to be concentrating on mass vaccinations and these vaccination blitz [occasions] on Saturday and Sunday,” Nez states.

Like much of the country, the Navajo Nation had its worst coronavirus surge at the end of in 2015. Now, over one in 5 locals has received at least one dose of a vaccine– a much higher level than most states so far.

The Navajo Nation has lifted a stringent weekend curfew that has actually remained in location for months in order to expand COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

Interview Highlights

The Navajo Nation has been particularly hard by the coronavirus. In an effort to increase self-confidence in the vaccine, Nez says he rolled up his sleeve and got vaccinated.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez tells NPRs All Things Considered that now is not the time to let up on taking individual safety measures however that the shot project is moving quickly.

What sort of other unique difficulties have you dealt with in getting the vaccine distributed across the reservation?

The vaccine will go a long way, however Im sure your health officials will state its not the only thing that will fix the pandemic. What else needs to happen for life to feel normal once again on your booking?

However like I said, our focus here is on the health and well being of our Navajo individuals.

Jonaki Mehta and Patrick Jarenwattananon produced and edited the audio story. Farah Eltohamy produced the Web story.

Nez said that so far, one of the main barriers primary officials are trying to overcome is vaccine hesitancy, especially among specifically amongst. In an effort to boost self-confidence in the vaccine, Nez says he rolled up his sleeve and got vaccinated. And were like an island, the Navajo Nation within these 3 states. If other locations around us are not taking it seriously, it does affect the Navajo Nation.

Here on the Navajo Nation, those obstacles are to get the shots into the arms of those that are living in the rural parts of the Navajo Nation that might not have automobiles or selecting to keep away from the high-populated locations, so thats been a challenge.

We just need the states around us, the non-Native communities to do the same, take this infection seriously. The state of Arizona– they do not mandate masks, they do not have companies doing strict protocols. And were like an island, the Navajo Nation within these 3 states. It does affect the Navajo Nation if other areas around us are not taking it seriously.

The Navajo Nation has been specifically hard by the coronavirus. In May, it had the greatest per-capita infection rate in the U.S.

And now with the weather condition– we got mud and snow, and its beginning to be a difficulty to get a few of those folks their second dose, because theres a window right, depending on which vaccine youre using. Therefore were talking with them, and those patients and were even trying to encourage them to come to a few of these websites to get their 2nd doses also.

I value the state of New Mexico, the guv there. They have a mask mandate, theyre doing everything they can, and were collaborating on the outreach– getting the information out to our people about COVID, about screening, about vaccinations.