WH: $4B to American Indian tribes for virus

Associated Press

Washington — The White House says American Indian tribes and Alaska Native communities are getting more than $4 billion from President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief legislation.

The money will help address a range of issues, including getting more people vaccinated, improvements in testing and contact tracing and reimbursing tribal health systems for lost revenue during the coronavirus shutdown.

In this Dec. 8, 2020, file photo Dr. Vivek Murthy, who has been nominated to be U.S. Surgeon General speaks during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says at the coronavirus briefing that American Indians and Alaska Natives have borne an unusually heavy toll from the pandemic. They are more than three-and-a-half times as likely to get COVID-19 than whites and four times more likely to be hospitalized.

The money is “part of a broader commitment to increase access to vaccines and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in hard-hit communities,” Murthy says.

The Indian Health Service has already administered more than 1 million shots to people and the $600 million funding boost will expand that campaign. Part of the money will pay for mobile vaccination teams to go to remote or hard-to-reach communities.