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Navajo Nation receives, doles out first shipment of COVID vaccine

(Navajo Nation Photo)

PHOENIX – The Navajo Nation, hit hard by the pandemic, said Tuesday it finished giving out its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The tribal community’s Navajo Area Indian Health Services distributed 3,900 doses of the vaccine starting Monday to front-line health care workers, emergency medical staff, traditional practitioners working in Indian Health Service facilities, and staff and patients in long-term nursing facilities.

About 7,900 doses are expected to arrive next week.

“The arrival of the Pfizer vaccine is a blessing for all of our people, including the doctors, nurses, and many other health care warriors who are helping and treating all of our people who come in with COVID-19 symptoms and those who are fighting for their lives,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a press release.

As of Tuesday, the tribe reported 19,929 coronavirus cases and 727 related deaths since the pandemic began.

The reservation covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Navajo Department of Health officials say 77 communities still have uncontrolled spread of the virus.

Tribal leadership has enacted a stay-at-home order though Dec. 28 in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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