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Project November 20, 2020

The Politics of Immunization: COVID-19 and Vaccine Readiness for Tribal Nations in the United States

Author:

Kelly Cannon examines issues of equity in the delivery and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine to critical populations, specifically focusing on tribal nations in the United States.

The project documents the resilience of U.S. tribal nations in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, exploring the particular issues American Indian and Alaska Native communities face in their pursuit of life-saving interventions to combat the pandemic. Tribal nations have been met with resistance and, in some cases, outright opposition to measures enacted to protect the health security of their peoples—despite their status as sovereign nations. They also face steep obstacles and barriers to equitable access to vaccines and life-saving interventions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed long-standing infrastructure and health inequities for tribal communities, especially those in more remote, rural areas, leaving the burden of readying communities for services onto tribal leaders already stretched thin. These disparities could severely impact the ability of tribal nations to recover from the pandemic.

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