GOVERNMENT

Navajo Nation leader marks COVID-19 progress, but won’t get flu shot

Sep 11, 2020, 4:20 PM
sunset navajo flu shot...
The sun sets behind a basketball hoop and backboard at Dinehdeal family compound in Tuba City, Ariz., on the Navajo reservation on April 20, 2020. The reservation has some of the highest rates of coronavirus in the country. If Navajos are susceptible to the virus' spread in part because they are so closely knit, that's also how many believe they will beat it. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

SALT LAKE CITY — The leader of the Navajo Nation celebrated great progress made in the fight against COVID-19, but said he does not plan to get the flu shot this fall. 

For the first time since March, the Navajo Nation, which includes portions of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, saw no new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. 

At the end of July, the Navajo Nation experienced COVID-19 infection rates that were among the highest per capita in the United States, CNN reported.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez spoke to Lee Lonsberry on Live Mic about the good news, but expressed his doubts about the flu shot and a possible COVID-19 vaccine as well.

Nez said he was thankful for Navajo citizens adhering to public health protocols given by the territory’s leaders. He also commended residents for their hard work fighting the pandemic. 

But he warned that the Navajo need to prepare for a possible second wave of coronavirus spreading throughout the region with the upcoming flu season.

Flu shot

Lee asked Nez whether he planned to encourage Navajo Nation residents to get a flu shot.

“I am encouraging our health care facilities to offer flu shots right now throughout the Navajo Nation,” he said. “The choice is up to the individual to get the flu shot. We’re not going to mandate people to get the flu shot. But we are going to have that available.”

Lee asked Nez if he would be receiving a flu shot.

“You know, I’ve never gotten a flu shot. I consider myself healthy. I’m a runner. I’m a plant-based eater. We should have a discussion nationwide or worldwide. We don’t hear about building up your immune system as much as we should,” Nez said. 

He added that if a person can strengthen the immune system through physical fitness and diet, he or she is less prone to viruses. He said he doesn’t ingest any “foreign chemicals.”

“If I need to be a model of leadership for people to take the flu shot, maybe I’ll  reconsider,” Nez said.

COVID-19 vaccine

Lee asked Nez if the coronavirus vaccine proved to be safe and effective, would he get one?

“Based on what I saw on the news last night, there are questions about the vaccine out there,” he replied.  “. . . I think for all of us, we have to make sure that any type of vaccine doesn’t have long-term damaging effect to the body.”

He said he was open to having Navajo Nation citizens be a part of a vaccine clinical trials if they chose to be involved.

Lee said he will be receiving a flu shot this season. When the FDA says it’s safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine, he said he will be getting that as well.

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

Today’s Top Stories

Government

Utah Republicans are looking to ban transgender surgeries and other hormone-based care....
Mark Jones

Utah to receive additional $4.9 million from FEMA in response to COVID-19

FEMA has announced Utah will receive an additional $4.9 million to help with the housing costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
3 days ago
...
Curt Gresseth

Former U.S. Attorney for Utah talks about what FBI can take off your cellphone

A legal expert joined Dave and Dujanovic to discuss how the FBI can obtain evidence of a crime from a cellphone.
3 days ago
mini-bottles Utah liquor store...
Elizabeth Weiler

“Mini-bottles” could return to Utah state liquor stores

Mini-bottles haven't been on Utah state liquor store shelves for more than two decades. A public hearing will be held on the proposal.
3 days ago
The Biden administration is preparing for the possibility of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, left, and Flor...
MJ Lee, CNN White House correspondent

Biden administration prepares for Abbott and DeSantis to send more migrants to Democratic cities

The Biden administration is readying for more migrants to be sent to Democratic cities.
3 days ago
Gov. Cox mental health...
Mark Jones

Utah National Guard to host 67th annual Governor’s Day

The 67th annual Governor's Day will be held Saturday by the Utah National Guard at Camp Williams.
4 days ago
design...
Samantha Herrera

Semifinalists for the new Utah flag design unveiled

The finalists for the new Utah state flag are on display at the Utah State Capitol, as well as in Logan and Cedar City through Oct. 5.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Navajo Nation leader marks COVID-19 progress, but won’t get flu shot