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COVID-19 vaccination push in Navajo Nation: Nearly 25% of residents have gotten at least one shot

Navajo Nation COVID
Posted at 6:03 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 21:15:38-05

More than 80,000 doses have been administered in Arizona. Nearly a quarter of those living on the Navajo Nation, have now been vaccinated with at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

“On Saturday alone, we vaccinated over five thousand people on the Navajo Nation,” said Navajo Nation Jonathan Nez.

President Nez is in Fort Defiance where hundreds more are getting their first dose Thursday.

The Fort Defiance drive-up site has been replicated across the vast Navajo community.

“As they come in, they get registered, they get the registration done for them, those that want it in the Navajo language, that is offered,” said Nez.

Details like delivering education surrounding the vaccine in the native tongue, town halls hosted twice a week in English and Navajo, speakers including physicians from the community, local leaders and heavy-hitting guests have led to the successful rollout.

“You know we have people like Dr. Fauci on our town hall, we had Dr. Bourla from Pfizer,” said Nez.

“On the Navajo Nation, people just wanted to get the vaccine, it really was a tribute to the trust they have in Indian health services,” said Dr. David Callaway, chief medical officer for Team Rubicon.

Callaway and his crew volunteered to assist with the rollout on the Navajo Nation. He says this community is setting the example.

“That gives me hope because we can manage the operation of getting vaccine into arms, as long as people want them,” said Dr. Callaway.

As of now, they’re flying off the proverbial shelf.

“It's a great thing on the Navajo Nation reservation for our elderly people, and the people who are older than us, they are our generations teachers, we really need to protect them,” said Navajo resident Matthew Curly.

“Right after their shot they’re usually like oh that wasn’t so bad,” said Vaccination site volunteer Tarrah Oliver.

President Nez says more vaccines are on the way thanks to the efficiency of their operations, leaving room for hope of reaching more than 100 thousand doses administered in the next few weeks.