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Area Briefs: All IHS workers must get vaccinations


On Aug. 13, Xavier Becerra, U.S. Health and Human Services secretary, established a policy that requires COVID-19 immunizations for all personnel working in IHS health-care facilities.

Workers have until Oct. 1 to receive two doses of COVID-19 vaccine in a two-dose series, or one dose in single-dose vaccination.

Limited exemptions apply to those who have a valid medical or religious exemption on file.

“This directive is aimed at protecting the health and safety of our workforce and patients,” the Navajo Area IHS said in a news release, “and the vaccines are the best tools to achieve this goal.”

Vaccinations of health-care workers is a new public health priority, and due to the recent COVID-19 delta variant surge and the availability of vaccines, several groups across the U.S. support mandatory vaccinations for health-care workers.

Navajo First Things First volunteers honored with statewide award

WINDOW ROCK – On Tuesday, volunteers for the First Things First Navajo Nation Region were honored at the organization’s virtual statewide FTF conference for their work in a year of challenges.

They worked to support the healthy development and learning of babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

The regional partnership council received the Eddie Basha Regional Partnership Council Excellence Award for Leadership and Service.

Members of the Navajo Nation Regional Partnership Council are first lady Phefelia Nez, Yvonne Kee-Billison, Dawn Yazzie, Victoria Begay, Benjamin Barney, Paula Seanez and Delores Noble. The chair of the council is Cotillion Sneddy and vice chair is Rhonda Etsitty.

The annual award from the state’s early childhood agency recognizes one of the 28 regional councils in Arizona for inspiring its local community to unite and promote positive and lasting change on behalf of young children, thereby enriching all of Arizona.

Brandon Basha, the eldest grandson in the Basha family, presented the award online to the community volunteers at the virtual FTF 2021 Early Childhood Summit.

He applauded the council “for their collaborative approach to supporting the young children and families in their region during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Through closures and stay-at-home orders, the regional council and FTF staff led the formation of a new Navajo Nation Early Childhood Collaboration Team, including local civic leaders, philanthropic and faith-based organizations, community partners and several departments from the Navajo Nation government.

The team worked with Navajo United Way to secure a COVID-19 relief grant from Arizona State University and served over 400 Navajo Nation families with diapers and wipes, baby food and formula and personal protective equipment.

And after identifying the pandemic’s impact on the mental health of children and families as an urgent concern, the Collaboration Team along with Project Indigenous LAUNCH co-hosted a virtual Early Childhood Wellness Day to learn from experts.

Systems coordination around infant, toddler and early childhood mental health was strengthened, and Phefelia Nez created a workgroup within the president’s office to continue moving this work forward.

The Wall coming to Farmington

FARMINGTON – “The Wall That Heals,” a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial along with a mobile education center, is coming to Farmington on Sept. 7.

The wall honors the more than 3 million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed forces in the Vietnam War and it bears the names of the more than 58,000 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.

The wall is transported from community to community in a 53-foot trailer. When parked, the trailer opens with exhibits built into its sides, allowing it to serve as a mobile education center telling the story of the Vietnam War, the Wall and this divisive era in American history.

The three-quarter scale wall replica is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high. Visitors can do name rubbings of individual service member’s names on the wall.

The wall will be escorted to Farmington on Sept. 7, from the La Plata County fairgrounds, through Aztec and then Bloomfield and then on to San Juan College athletic fields.

The wall, which is free to the public, will be open for viewing Thursday, Sept. 9, through Sunday, Sept. 12. It closes Sunday at 2 p.m.

An honors ceremony will be at 6 p.m. on Sept. 9 and a Navajo blessing ceremony will be at 9 a.m. on Sept. 11.

The wall is hosted by the Pinon Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church along with sponsors Farmington Chick-fil-A and the Four Corners Blue Star Mothers.


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