Feds shift focus of Native American vaccinations

FILE PHOTO: Vials labelled "COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" and sryinge are seen in front of displayed Johnson&Johnson logo in this illustration

The Indian Health Service is shifting its vaccine distribution system to target individual hospitals and clinics with high demand for shots and tapering off supplies to vaccination hubs where most eligible patients have received doses.

The federal agency said Monday the shift is designed to improve efficiency after a drop-off in vaccine demand in some regions.

Native Americans have been disproportionately sickened and killed by the pandemic and are now at the forefront of federal vaccination efforts.

The Indian Health Service has administered more than 940,000 vaccine doses across the U.S. and plans to hit the million-dose mark before April.

Over a year after the nation’s first reported coronavirus case, more than 80,000 Navajo Nation members have been fully vaccinated on the sprawling reservation that overlaps portions of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

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