AAIP Partners with CDC to Boost Vaccination Rates among Native Communities, Tackling Flu, Shingles, and RSV
The Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP) has teamed up with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to improve influenza and shingles vaccination rates among American Indian and Alaskan Native (AI/AN) individuals. This collaboration aims to safeguard the health of tribal communities and protect them from outbreaks.
According to the CDC, flu and pneumonia rank among the top 10 leading causes of death among American Indians. Additionally, shingles, a highly painful and infectious rash, affects approximately 1 million Americans each year and can lead to serious complications.
American Indian and Alaskan Native populations face a higher risk of health complications from the flu, said Dr. Lukejohn Day, President of AAIP. Fortunately, flu vaccines are safe, effective, and readily available. We encourage all individuals and families to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Moreover, the shingles virus poses a significant threat to American Indians and Alaskan Natives. With this in mind, AAIP and the CDC are urging adults over the age of 50 to receive the shingles vaccine. By raising awareness and improving vaccine accessibility, AAIP aims to ensure the health and well-being of tribal communities.
In addition to addressing the flu and shingles, AAIP recognizes the need to provide resources and support for families concerned about the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Studies have shown that RSV has a disproportionate impact on Indigenous communities, with Alaskan Native infants experiencing some of the highest hospitalization rates in the United States. To combat this, the FDA recently approved the first-ever vaccine and antibodies for RSV protection in infants and adults. AAIP is working closely with the CDC to develop resources and recommendations for AI/AN families.
To make vaccine information easily accessible to tribal communities, AAIP has launched a website called aaipvax.org. This interactive platform features essential statistics, trending topics, videos from AAIP physicians, and safety information. AAIP has also collaborated with local media outlets to broadcast public service announcements (PSAs) on television, radio, and social media platforms.
AI/AN families are advised to consult their healthcare providers, pharmacies, or local tribal clinics for vaccine availability and personalized recommendations. By working together with the CDC and other stakeholders, AAIP strives to promote health equity and improve the overall well-being of American Indian and Alaskan Native communities.
About the Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP)
In 1971, a group of fourteen American Indian and Alaskan Native physicians established AAIP with the aim of enhancing the health of their communities. Today, hundreds of licensed and practicing physicians across the country are dedicated to the same mission. AAIP advocates for education in the health sciences and upholds traditional healing principles while pursuing excellence in Native American healthcare. By addressing the acknowledged disparities in AI/AN health, AAIP seeks to foster positive change and empower Indigenous communities.