Vaccination of children against COVID-19 is essential to the preservation of our indigenous cultures

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New resources made available during Native American Heritage Month to improve health outcomes for Native American and Alaska Native youth

OKLAHOMA CITY, November 22, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP), a national nonprofit organization working to improve the health of Native American and Alaska Native communities, is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as part of a campaign to encourage increased COVID-19 vaccination rates among American Indians and Alaska Natives – with a focus on vaccines for children aged 6 months and over. November is Native American Heritage Month, and improving health outcomes for Native Americans continues to be a top priority for the health industry.

This press release is multimedia. View the full press release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221122005771/en/

AAIP member Dr. Joseph Bell (right), Lumbee, with patient and family member. (Photo: BusinessWire)

“Protecting our communities includes protecting our children, who sometimes contract and spread viruses at a higher rate than others due to their closeness to their peers in daycare and school,” said the AAIP Executive Director, Tom Anderson. “Our hope is that all American Indians and Alaska Natives who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine – especially children – get vaccinated and follow their boosters and other seasonal vaccines. The AAIP is proud to support and serving tribal members, doctors, healers, elders and our vast network of communities.Healthy tribal communities mean we can continue to pass the traditions on to our next generations of leaders.

The AAIP directly addresses health disparities among Indigenous populations. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Native Americans and Alaska Natives are suffering the highest rate of caregiver loss to the pandemic – 4.5 times higher than white children. The pandemic has hit Native American communities hard. In the same study, the NIH noted that one in 168 Native American/Alaska Native children were orphaned or died of a caregiver due to COVID-19.

AAIP doctors say these disparities make vaccinations crucial for young Indigenous people who can get sick or spread the disease to more vulnerable members of the Indigenous community like teachers, caregivers and community elders.

“As the pandemic has evolved, so have our efforts to protect our communities. Childhood vaccinations against the COVID-19 pandemic are safe, effective and available to American Indians and Native Americans. Alaska, and they are a tool to maintain our cultures and keep our friends and neighbors healthy,” said AAIP President Lukejohn Day, MD. “Vaccination is a community effort with colossal community impact .”

As cases of COVID-19 and variants are expected to increase during the holidays and through the winter, AAIP is providing parents, caregivers, and physicians with online resources at aaipvax.org to increase awareness and accessibility to vaccines and boosters. The interactive site includes statistics, current topics and safety information regarding childhood vaccinations against COVID-19. Additionally, video resources have been made available this month to make essential and accurate information even more accessible.

The AAIP recommends that American Indian and Alaska Native parents and caregivers contact their local Indian health clinic, pharmacy, or physician to schedule COVID-19 vaccines and boosters for themselves and their families.

About the Association of Native American Physicians (AAIP)

In 1971, fourteen Native American and Alaska Native physicians worked to improve the overall health of their communities and the Association of American Indian Physicians was born. Today, hundreds of licensed and practicing physicians across the country are committed to this same mission. The AAIP strives for excellence in Native American health care by advocating education in the health sciences and respecting traditional healing principles. AAIP members directly address widely recognized disparities in the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives. For more information on the Association of American Indian Physicians, see aaip.org. Vaccination campaign resources are available at aaipvax.org.

Downloadable press kit available here.

See the source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221122005771/en/

contacts

Katy Fabrie; 405-403-5423 or kfabrie@goodengroup.com

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