WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Navajo Nation leaders met via a teleconference on Sunday with officials from the White House and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to advocate for additional Covid-19 vaccines, testing kits, medical personnel, and other resources to help reduce the spread of the deadly virus. 

The Navajo Nation says more federal assistance is needed to combat the disease that as of Monday has claimed 1,020 lives on the nation’s largest Indian reservation. As of Monday, there have been 28,388 confirmed Covid-19 since last March 17 when the cases were first announced.

“We appreciate the White House officials and federal agencies for meeting with us and for the support they continue to provide. Our message to them was that our health care workers are doing a great job and confidence in the vaccines is at a very high level among our people so we need more vaccines to meet the demand and to vaccinate as many of our people as possible. The need is growing greater and greater as we receive more reports of the Covid-19 variants spreading,” President Nez said. 

On Monday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 61 new Covid-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and two more deaths. The total number of deaths is now 1,020 as of Monday. Reports indicate that 14,484 individuals have recovered from Covid-19, and 233,041 Covid-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive Covid-19 cases is now 28,388, including two delayed reported cases.

As of Jan. 29, 2021, the Navajo Area Indian Health Service (IHS) reported that the Navajo Nation received 64,713 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines combined, and that 47,455 of those doses had been administered including some for second doses.

Following two large vaccine events at Tséhootsooí Medical Center and Gallup Indian Medical Center over the weekend, the number of vaccines administered is expected to increase substantially. Health care facilities continue to administer more vaccines during events and by appointments this week. 

He also noted that the Nez-Lizer Administration issued letters to the governors of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah stating that if the states used Native American population numbers to advocate and receive Covid-19 vaccines, then the Navajo Nation should receive its share of those vaccines for Navajo people residing in urban areas. President Nez also asked the White House officials to follow-up on the Navajo Nation’s previous request to issue a major disaster declaration to free up additional funding and resources.

Navajo Department of Health Executive Director Dr. Jill Jim also requested support for more Covid-19 test kits to help identify positive cases and isolate the spread of the virus, which will also help to address the needs of school employees, businesses, and essential workers who are required to report to work for essential duties. 

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Author: Native News Online Staff