Native American and Alaska Native communities nationwide have disproportionally been impacted by COVID-19 according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In Douglas County, the Native community is experiencing COVID-19 case rates 24% higher than the lawrence community’s total average according to data by Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health.
Vaccination efforts are underway at Haskell Indian Health Center, which serves as the local Indian Health Services (IHS) provider for the Native community. The Center reported receiving 3,325 COVID-19 single vaccine doses as of February 3 which were distributed to CDC advised priority groups.
Joe Rorabaugh-Irwin, spokesperson, said, “The Haskell Indian Health Center is working diligently to administer every dose available. Many factors must be considered with vaccine administration, such as inventory, staffing, storage capacity, planned events, and future vaccine distribution to aide in planning future events. The goal is 100% administration of first doses, and we work toward that goal every week.”
As a federal facility, the Center is following federal guidance that, “… facilities can and should aggressively expand vaccinations to other priority groups if supply is available.” The Center announced today that, “We have 1,000 doses of Moderna available to all patients 18 and older, regardless of medical conditions. We have already reached patients in categories 1a-1c.”
Rorabaugh-Irwin added, “While vaccine is an important tool in helping to stop this pandemic, it will take time to deliver and administer the vaccine to everyone who needs it. The COVID-19 vaccine is the safest, most effective and most reliable way to keep yourself, your family and your community healthy. Our best immediate defense are the tried and true public health best practices: washing your hands frequently, social distancing, and wearing a face covering when around others.”
Haskell Indian Heath Center patients may call 785-843-3750 opt 7 then option 1 to reach the COVID vaccine appointment line.