In other words: People are jealous of the Indian health system.
This is Trahant Reports.
There is a lot of background to the roll out of coronavirus vaccines in Indian Country. The pandemic is still lethal. The rates of infection in Indian Country are significantly higher than in other communities. A new study by the Urban Indian Health Institute points out the incidence rate among American Indians and Alaska Natives is 3.5 times higher than that of non-Hispanic Whites and the mortality rate is 1.8 times higher. The reasons go far beyond this pandemic: Chronic diseases, crowded housing, the lack of clean water and healthy foods as well as an underfunded Indian health system.
But tribal governments were far more inclined to implement public health orders, including lock downs and mask requirements.
The thing is tribal governments, unlike their state counterparts, already have a culture of public health.
One clear reason is that the Indian health system is just that, a system. There are mechanics in place to distribute vaccines efficiently to a population. That’s something that is missing from most of the U.S health system where doctors and hospitals are scattered about without any real logic.
But Indian Country is different. The Indian health system — a combination of federal clinics and hospitals, plus those run by tribes and nonprofits — is a system serving a distinct population and so a distribution plan could be properly executed.
The Cherokee Nation announced that it passed its first 10,000 vaccinations, including a priority for first-language Cherokee speakers, and it’s now adding Phase 2 priority patients to its distribution. The Navajo Nation lifted its weekend lockdowns so that more people can take the shot. Already more than 40,000 have received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. And in Alaska more than 30 percent of all vaccines have been administered through the Alaska Native health system.
Sovereignty in action.