Podcast: How Native Americans became a vaccine success story

A nurse carries coolers

Kathleen Adams is the head public-health nurse on the Fort Belknap reservation, Montana. She carries coolers with her to her car when she needs to vacate a member of her community.

(Richard Read / Los Angeles Times)

Listen now to this episode from The Times:

Fewer ethnic groups in the U.S. have been harder hit by COVID-19 than Native Americans. They have been killed at twice the rate as whites. Pandemics have exacerbated health inequalities and tribal leaders were afraid that their members would reject vaccines endorsed by the federal government.

But the opposite happened. Native Americans have the highest rates of vaccinations among any major racial and ethnic group in the United States. L.A. Times Seattle bureau chief Richard Read, and Navajo Nation president Jonathan Nez discuss why.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Seattle bureau chief Richard Read and Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez

More reading:

Despite obstacles, Native Americans have the nation’s highest COVID-19 vaccination rate

COVID-19 is crushing Native American reservations. But distrust of the government makes vaccines a hard sell

They know the sick. On Navajo Nation, contact tracers work to control coronavirus on vast lands

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, senior producer Denise Guerra and producers Shannon Lin, Marina Pena and Melissa Kaplan. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Lauren Raab, Shani O. Hilton are our editors. Andrew Eapen composed our theme song.


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