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How the Navajo Nation Went From Being Devastated By COVID To Vaccinating Over Half Its Adult Population

HUERFANO, NM - MAY 27: Miss Navajo Nation Shaandiin P. Parrish puts on a white gown to help distribute food, water, and other supplies to Navajo families on May 27, 2020 in Huerfano on the Navajo Nation Reservation, New Mexico.   Encompassing parts of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, the Navajo Nation now has the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases per capita in the United States, as the spread of the coronavirus continues to disproportionately effect minority communities across the country. (Photo by Sharon Chischilly/Getty Images)
Sharon Chischilly/Getty Images
Miss Navajo Nation Shaandiin P. Parrish puts on a white gown to help distribute food, water, and other supplies to Navajo families on May 27, 2020 in Huerfano on the Navajo Nation Reservation, New Mexico.

Although Native Americans are one of the most at-risk groups in contracting COVID-19, they've been the most successful at vaccinating their populations. NPR reported that the Navajo Nation had vaccinated more than half of its adult population, which surpasses the U.S. national vaccination rate.

Although Native Americans are one of the most at-risk groups in contracting COVID-19, they've been the most successful at vaccinating their populations. 

NPR reported that the Navajo Nation had vaccinated more than half of its adult population, which surpasses the U.S. national vaccination rate.

At one point, the Navajo Nation was a hotbed for coronavirus cases as it had the third-highest infection rate in the country in April 2020. Right before the turn of the new year, the Nation suffered from a massive second wave of cases that spread across 75 of its communities. Now, cases rates have dropped with most of the Navajo population being inoculated, so much so that they’re sending their own relief resources to India for that country’s surging cases. 

But leaders in the Navajo territory still take precaution in fully committing to guidelines set by the CDC. According to the Navajo Times, face masks are still required to be worn in public, and there is a daily curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. (MDT).

Today on AirTalk, we discuss the trajectory of the Navajo Nation's vaccination campaign, and how they were able to bounce back from its once high infection rate.  

Guest:

Loretta Christensen, M.D., chief medical officer at the Navajo Area Indian Health Service

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