This week on the Minnesota Native News health report, one Ojibwe leader relayed a serious message about COVID-19 to tribal citizens on the importance of trusting the vaccine. Reporter Dalton Walker explains in this week’s stories.
The leader of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe has a message for those undecided or not interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin referenced this week a well-known Mayo Clinic medical official in her near-daily video address to tribal citizens.
Benjamin is one of the few tribal leaders who regularly updates Mille Lacs citizens with short video posts.
“Many people have decided not to take the vaccine and they are concerned about various risks or even some of the rumors that are out there,” said Benjamin.
Benjamin quoted Dr. Gregory Poland, Mayo Clinic’s vaccine and research director in saying to believe in science first.
“He made a statement that I quote: We are now in a desperate, but unrecognized race of variant versus vaccine of ignorance, versus knowledge of disease, versus health, and we are very much losing the game. The doctor said basically COVID-19 is a science problem, a medical problem. You can’t abandon science as a way to determine truth,” said Benjamin.
In related news…
More and more tribes in Indian Country, including at least one in Minnesota, are adopting a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for tribal employees.
The move comes as the delta variant continues to surge across the country. Earlier this month, the Red Lake Nation Tribal Council voted unanimously to require vaccines for tribal employees.
Red Lake has recorded nearly 700 positive cases and 12 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The tribe reported 56 active cases in a recent Facebook post.
Chairman Darrell Seki said the tribe had to do something significant to keep citizens healthy and safe, according to a report by Indian Country Today.
As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian Health Service wants to remind everyone how important it is to get your influenza shot.
The flu and coronavirus vaccines can be given at the same time, according to the federal health agency. Those ages 6 months and older are recommended for an annual flu vaccination.
Getting the flu shot is especially important to reduce the impact of respiratory illnesses on the health care system, IHS explains. Contact your local health care facility to ask about the flu vaccine availability near you.
Just how serious is COVID-19? The coronavirus has killed roughly 677,000 U.S. citizens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For perspective, that’s more than the population in states like Wyoming and Vermont.
Unfortunately, the number will rise even more in the coming weeks.
The death count has officially passed the other most severe pandemic in recent history. The 1918 influenza pandemic killed about 675,000 U.S. citizens, according to the CDC.
Again, the best way to beat COVID-19 and move us out of the pandemic is to get vaccinated.
For Minnesota Native News health report, I’m Dalton Walker.