Culturally-centered education campaigns support Native American vaccination efforts


After experiencing tremendous loss, the commitment of Tribal leaders and members from many Native communities to safeguard their communities – first and foremost – led to innovative culturally-centered vaccine mobilization efforts and educational campaigns to protect their most important legacy: their people.

The Albuquerque Area Southwest Tribal Epidemiology Center (AASTEC) has been instrumental in creating culturally centered COVID-19 educational materials and conducting webinars on COVID-19 case and contact monitoring, vaccinations and much more.

When creating the materials, AASTEC Program Director Michele Suina, Ph.D. said, “It’s important to weave together Native values and understandings of health with western public health guidelines so that education campaigns reflect who we are and what is meaningful to us. At the same time, we need the most recent public health guidance to help minimize harm to our communities from COVID-19.”

AASTEC launched the Native American COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline (1-833-VAX-AIAN/1-833-829-2426) for the Tribes, Pueblos, Bands, Nations and urban Indian communities in the Albuquerque IHS Administrative Area. Trained navigators are available to assist with up-to-date information about COVID-19 vaccines.

“It’s exciting to see our fact sheets, posters, post cards and graphics being used in Tribal communities. At the heart of any messaging campaign are the values that are important to the group who the messages are intended to reach. Our products have heart,” said Suina.

The Navajo Nation was among the first to participate in COVID-19 vaccination trials, and its members heard firsthand from family members and neighbors the safeguards of the vaccine. 

Nonprofit organizations like the women-led Yee Ha’ólníi Doo used creative methods to increase the vaccination rates in Navajo communities with their large-scale vaccination campaign, #ProtectCommunity. Yee Ha’ólníi Doo used door drop campaigns, flea market tabling events, phone banking, an incentive program, social media live educational events, videos, influencer posters and Indigenous language comic book-style educational campaigns. They also held live radio Q&A sessions where people could call in and speak with Tribal health care professionals about their questions and concerns. 

"We are so thankful to the many Navajo and Hopi Tribal members who have embraced their role as good relatives and accessed the vaccines and booster as soon as they could to #ProtectCommunity. We can't wait to close the vaccine gap in our communities and truly transform our nations from being the hardest hit by COVID to the safest from COVID. Together, we can do this."


Comments are closed.