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Podcast: How Native Americans became a vaccine success story

A nurse carries coolers
Kathleen Adams, head public-health nurse at the Fort Belknap reservation in Montana, carries coolers to her car on her way to vaccinate a community member.
(Richard Read / Los Angeles Times)

Fewer ethnic groups in the U.S. have been harder hit by COVID-19 than Native Americans. It’s killed them at more than twice the rate of whites. The pandemic has exacerbated longstanding health inequities, and a deep-rooted distrust in the federal government made tribal leaders fearful that members would reject the government-endorsed vaccines.

But the opposite happened. Native Americans now have the highest vaccination rates of any major racial or ethnic group in the United States. L.A. Times Seattle bureau chief Richard Read and Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez explain why.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

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

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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 Peña and Melissa Kaplan. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Our editors are Lauren Raab and Shani O. Hilton. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.

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