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GALLUP, Ariz. — On Monday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer visited the Gallup Indian Medical Center as the Navajo Area IHS received the first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for COVID-19. The process of distributing the vaccine to other health care facilities on the Navajo Nation, including health care clinics, also began on Monday. More vaccines are expected to be delivered on Tuesday. 

The vaccine will be administered based on the Centers for Disease Control’s phased distribution plan that calls for health care workers and those living in long-term assisted living facilities to receive the vaccine first, on a volunteer basis.

The Navajo Nation opted to have the Navajo Area IHS oversee the distribution of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, with the exception of the Utah Navajo Health System, which opted to work with the state of Utah for distribution. The Utah Navajo Health System reported that the vaccines will be delivered later this month, in accordance with its agreement with the state.

“Today is a historic day in this fight against COVID-19. With the vaccine in hand for our health care workers and those living in nursing homes, it provides more hope and optimism for our health care workers who have worked non-stop and for all of our Navajo people. We have to be mindful that this will be a long process and we cannot let down our guard. We have to keep fighting COVID-19 together by staying home as much as possible, wear a mask, avoid crowds and gatherings, practice social distancing, and wash your hands often. The fight is not over, but the Pfizer vaccine provides us with another tool to help overcome the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. 

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