/ Modified aug 31, 2022 4:41 p.m.

Navajo Nation sees success in COVID-19 vaccination for children

More than half of the children are vaccinated.

navajo billboard COVID Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said the "Stay home, stay safe" message from the tribal government guarantees that businesses in the nation have the "the safest environment" compared to those outside its tribal lands during the pandemic.
Daja E. Henry/Cronkite News

The Indian Health Service says the Navajo Nation has been exceptional at rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine to children, but still faces many logistical challenges, especially with the youngest age group.

More than half of children ages 5 to 11 have been vaccinated against COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation, compared to about a third nationwide. The rollout has been slower for children under the age of 5.

Dr. Loretta Christensen, chief medical officer of the Indian Health Service, points to challenges with transportation for working families and says many children have fallen behind on their regular vaccinations. "We’re spread very thin, but we are very, very focused on the priority of making these available for our children—again, getting their other vaccinations up to date equally as important as well," she says.

Christensen says the Indian Health Service wants to adopt “best practices” from the Navajo Nation for other Native American communities, such as family and school vaccination clinics.

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