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Navajo Nation president: Disparities in health care system contribute to COVID-19’s impact on indigenous Americans

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navajo nation monument valley

Navajo Nation president Jonathan Nez on Sunday said the pandemic has revealed disparities in the health care system across the United States, especially in Native American communities.

“I think this pandemic here has revealed some of the deficiencies in all of our health care systems throughout the country, but more so in Native American communities,” Nez told host Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Nez also pointed out that the Indian Health Service has been underfunded since it was established, adding that these health care professions are using the limited resources they have to fight the virus.

“Over 500 tribes throughout the country have been working hard to push back on this virus, and as many viewers may know that the Indian Health Services oversees the health care system, and the Indian Health Service has been underfunded since its inception. And so we are, the health care professionals are utilizing the limited resources that they have.

Nez during the appearance also reported that the Indian Health Service has distributed 89.3 percent of the vaccines given to the Navajo people. More than 88,000 Navajo people, he added, are fully vaccinated.

Nez credited help from the nation’s top infectious disease doctor Anthony Fauci and Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla as resources to help curb vaccine hesitancy in the Navajo Nation, in addition to leaders being inoculated on camera.

“We’ve been having town hall meetings as you may know, we had Dr. Fauci on our town hall meeting Dr. Bourla from Pfizer, and just answering the Navajo people’s questions about the virus, and also our leaders taking the vaccine on television,” Nez said.

“I think just because of how hard hit the Navajo Nation was, we’ve seen a big increase in participation in taking the vaccines,” he added.

Tags Anthony Fauci Navajo Nation Vaccine hesitancy

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