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Resource: American Indian/Alaska Native Data on COVID-19 Document Released on NCUIH Website

The National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) recently released an infographic about American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Data on COVID-19 on the NCUIH website. This document shows the disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on AI/ANs and Indian Country’s success with vaccinations for the virus. Native communities face some of the harshest disparities in health outcomes of any population in the U.S. and are disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of COVID-19 on American Indian and Alaska Native health will continue beyond the pandemic. Loss of American Indian and Alaska Native lives—especially the loss of elders—means loss of Native culture, including language, ceremonies, and more.

View the resource

Disproportionate Rates of COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, and Mortality Among AI/ANs

American Indians and Alaska Natives have infection rates over 3.5 times higher than non-Hispanic whites, are over 3.2 times more likely to be hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 and have higher rates of mortality at younger ages than non-Hispanic whites.

AI/AN Children and Orphanhood Due to COVID-19

1 of every 168 AI/AN children experienced orphanhood or death of caregivers due to the pandemic, and AI/AN children were 4.5 times more likely than white children to lose a parent or grandparent caregiver.

Indian Country Lead on Vaccination Rates

As of February 2022, AI/ANs have the highest vaccination administration rates in the U.S with 70.6% of AI/ANs having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to CDC Vaccine Administration Data. As of January 2022, UIOs that use IHS vaccine distribution have administered over 164,095 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and fully vaccinated 65,957 people.

AI/AN Food Insecurity and COVID-19

NCUIH Endorses Bill to Understand and Address Long COVID, Including in Urban Indian Communities

On March 3, 2022, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced the Comprehensive Access to Resources and Education (CARE) for Long COVID Act (S. 3726). This bill would improve research on long COVID as well as expand resources for those dealing with the long-term impacts of the virus. Specifically, the bill authorizes $50 million for each of fiscal years 2023 through 2027 to fund grants to eligible entities, including Tribes, Tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations (UIOs), to support legal and social service assistance for individuals with long COVID or related post-viral illnesses. Additionally, UIOs are included in outreach and research activities of the long-term symptoms of COVID–19 by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund.

“The National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) is pleased to endorse Senator Kaine’s Comprehensive Access to Resources and Education (CARE) for Long COVID Act. The pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll Indian Country and the public health crisis continues to affect Native communities experiencing symptoms of long COVID. This bill is a step in the right direction to better understand the long-term effects of the virus and provide support for those suffering.” – Francys Crevier (Algonquin), CEO, NCUIH.

The Comprehensive Access to Resources and Education (CARE) for Long COVID Act is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Edward Markey (D-MA), and Tina Smith (D-MN). The bill was referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. It currently awaits consideration.

This bill has been added to the NCUIH legislative tracker and can be found here.

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating and disproportionate impacts on American Indians/Alaska Natives and continue to feel the lingering effects of the virus. This legislation aims to address this issue by:

  • Accelerating research by centralizing data regarding long COVID patient experiences;
  • Increasing understanding of treatment efficacy and disparities by expanding research to provide recommendations to improve the health care system’s responses to long COVID;
  • Educating long COVID patients and medical providers by working with the CDC to develop and provide the public with information on common symptoms, treatment, and other related illnesses;
  • Facilitating interagency coordination to educate employers and schools on the impact of long COVID and employment, disability, and education rights for people with long COVID; and
  • Developing partnerships between community-based organizations, social service providers, and legal assistance providers to help people with long COVID access needed services.

 

Senate Text of Bill

Senator Kaine’s Press Release