Tribal health providers have figured out the key to Covid-19 vaccine success. Here's their secret


By Harmeet Kaur, CNN


(CNN)Native people have been disproportionately hit by Covid-19, experiencing higher ratesof infection, hospitalization and death than White people in the US. But when it comes to vaccine administration, tribal health providers are often outpacing counties and states.


For the most part, the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in the US so far has been beset by long lines, glitchy websites and canceled appointments. Meanwhile, many tribal nations and health clinics have moved efficiently through their vaccine allotments and distribution phases -- with some already offering shots to Native people as young as 16.


"We have some real crushing challenges in Indian Country," said Stacy Bohlen, chief executive officer of the National Indian Health Board. "We have a perfect storm for a pandemic like this to really knock us down. But we are also very, very resilient people."


It's important to note that there are 574 federally recognized tribes, making it difficult to broadly characterize how the vaccine rollout is going across Indian Country. Native people get their health care from a patchwork system of Indian Health Service facilities, tribally-operated clinics and urban Indian health centers, and vaccination efforts have varied from tribe to tribe and state to state.


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