This week on the Minnesota Native News health report, getting the word out to tribal citizens on the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine remains a top priority for tribal leaders and tribal health officials. Reporter Dalton Walker explains in this week’s story.
The message is simple: Get vaccinated to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
What is not so simple is convincing people, especially young adults, to get fully vaccinated. It may feel like things are finally getting back to how life used to be before COVID-19. Especially during our beautiful Minnesota summers. But tribal leaders and health officials remain cautious and continue to stress the importance of getting vaccinated.
Remember, we are still in a pandemic and health experts agree that one of the ways to move forward is for people to get vaccinated. Tribes across the state have been the frontrunner in getting shots in arms, but still, more needs to be done.
Now, a more dangerous and highly contagious variant known as delta is out there. It was first detected in the United States in March and now accounts for 83 percent of COVID-19 infections, according to the CDC. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that being fully vaccinated decreases your chances of catching the delta and other variants drastically. In other words, a potential new wave is mostly preventable.
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Medical Director Dr. Charity Reynolds said she has been answering more questions about the delta variant.
“The delta variant is becoming the leading variant in the U.S., we know by observing other countries that its highly contagious and spreading quickly, which causes surges of hospitalizations and deaths. We also know that the unvaccinated are at greatest risk for the delta variant. The covid 19 vaccine is protective against the delta variant. To prevent severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths, it’s important to get both doses as one dose is only 35 percent protective while two doses is 88 percent effective.” she explains in a recent public service announcement aimed towards tribal citizens.
Reynolds said the two-dose Moderna vaccine remains readily available at tribal health facilities.
“Remember to talk to your family and friends about getting vaccinated as well. The more we are protected, the less likely the delta variant will spread and we will continue to keep our community safe,” said Reynolds.
Other tribes in Minnesota continue to share the latest coronavirus information on social media pages.
Bois Forte Band of Chippewa Chairwoman Cathy Chavers reported no new positive cases in her weekly report on July 15. Her report also touched on the seriousness of the delta variant and how it could affect the tribe’s young people.
“I do still want to urge the people that haven’t been vaccinated to get vaccinated. Please think of your children. As you can see, the delta variant and other variants are going across the United States, and other countries and they are affecting a lot of kids so please be thoughtful and mindful of children if you don’t want to get vaccinated,” said Chavers.
Vaccines are readily available to anyone 12 years old and older. Reports say the vaccine could be made available for children as young as 5 later this year.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine and how to get it, contact your local health provider.
For Minnesota Native News health report, I’m Dalton Walker