This week on the Minnesota Native News health report, COVID-19 vaccinations remain a top priority as many across the state continue to explain why it’s important to get the shot. Reporter Dalton Walker explains in this week’s stories.
COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Numbers are going up, again, across the state and on tribal lands.
Lt. Gov. and White Earth Nation citizen Peggy Flanagan is urging our young people to get vaccinated. She posted on her Facebook this week that more than 20,000 students 12 years and older have gotten vaccinated in Minnesota. This is especially important as school fastly approaches
“Let’s continue this upward trend,” she said.
Flanagan is far from being alone in asking people to get vaccinated.
The Native American Community Clinic held an important COVID-19 Q&A recently on Facebook. Dr. Kari Rabie (KAI ROBIE), Dr. Antony Stately and Jace Gilbertson explained the seriousness of the virus and the importance of getting vaccinated.
Some of the discussion explained the dangers of the delta variant, which is 2 times more contagious than the original strain.
Rabie: People who are fully vaccinated with the delta variant can give the virus to other people. However, if they do get the COVID-19 virus, they are likely less contagious and they are contagious for shorter periods of time than if they are not vaccinated.
Stately explained how health inequities and disparities affect Native people.
Stately: Since the beginning of the pandemic that Native Americans and Alaska Natives, tribal people, both on tribal lands and also within urban areas like Minneapolis where NAC provides services, we have a significant higher rates of the COVID-19 infection compared to the general population, specifically compared to non-Hispanic whites. This is true of a lot of our health conditions that we have some of the highest rates of inequalities and disparities when it comes to all kinds of chronic conditions and infectious diseases.
In short, get vaccinated.
The Health and Human Services COVID-19 public education campaign includes a focus on Native people.
Its toolkit includes informational content, video messages from tribal leaders, social media graphics and more.
One 15-second video encouraging Native youth to get vaccinated features a traditional song and photos of our heroes and images of Native people today.
Video audio: History, strength, resilience, vaccines, modern day, warriors, together, we overcome.
You can find the materials at wecandothis.hhs.gov.
In other HHS news…
The largest federal agency dedicated to serving the health of Indian Country is requiring all staff to be vaccinated.
Indian Health Service employees have until Oct. 1 to get fully vaccinated. The directive is aimed at protecting the health and safety of IHS’s workforce and patients.
For Minnesota Native News health report, I’m Dalton Walker.