- By Levi Rickert
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer will be joined by Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) during a live online town hall on Monday, Sept. 21 at 8:45 a.m. - EDT on the Nez-Lizer Facebook page to discuss COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation.
Dr. Fauci is the country’s leading infectious diseases expert and has advised six U.S. presidents since beginning his service as the director of NIAID in 1984.
"We will be joined by Dr. Fauci to help provide more information and answers for our Navajo people in regards to COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation. We welcome all of our Navajo Nation residents to tune in online and through KTNN radio for this important discussion,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said.
The Navajo Nation has been the epicenter for Covid-19 in Indian Country. The total positive Covid-19 cases surpassed 10,000 last week. With the 12 newest cases announced on Sunday evening, the there have been 10,119 positive cases since reporting began on March 17, 2020. The death toll stood at 548 as of Sunday.
While Dr. Fauci is expected to talk about the Covid-19 impact on the Navajo Nation, speculation is he will discuss vaccine testing on Navajo citizens that is expected to begin this week. The announcement volunteer vaccine trials with pharmuceutical giant Pfizer-BioNTech for Covid-19 was made by Nez on Facebook this past Friday.
“A vaccine is needed to end the pandemic,” Nez said, adding that trials are occurring across the U.S. and “it’s important that the Navajo people have an opportunity to participate in a Phase 3 trial.” The post drew immediate backlash and suspicion, according to the Navajo Times.
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