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American Indian / Alaska Native Vaccination

Protect the Circle of Life: Immunize Our Nations

"Let us put our minds together to see what life we can make for our children." --Sitting Bull, Lakota Sioux, 1877

Why Immunize Our Children

Responsibility to our communities

Ensuring the safety and health of our American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities is our responsibility. If enough people in our communities are protected, vaccine-preventable diseases will not be passed to our children, our families, and our communities.

Responsibility to our families

It is especially important to ensure the health of our families. An infant's immune system does not yet have the necessary defenses to fight off infectious diseases. This makes our children more susceptible to these illnesses. Immunization is one of the most important tools we have to protect our children from disease.

Vaccines protect people

Immunization protects people. Some vaccine-preventable diseases affect AI/AN people at a higher rate compared to other populations.

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Vaccines Can Prevent These Diseases

  • Bacterial Meningitis
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (German measles)
  • Polio
  • Diphtheria, Pertussis, (whooping cough), Tetanus, (lockjaw)
  • Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B
  • Pneumococcal diseases
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Rotavirus
  • Zoster (shingles)

But I've never even seen some of these diseases!

Today, we see fewer people getting sick from these diseases in the U.S. The reason is that responsible healthcare providers and parents have given millions of children vaccines over the past years.

But don't be fooled. Those diseases are still out there. If we stop giving our children vaccines, the diseases that made people sick and even killed them only a few years ago will return.

Respect the circle:

  • By taking preventive measures, such as getting immunizations against disease...
  • By ensuring that our communities thrive mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically...
  • By respecting the connection between our physical health and our environment health...

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Where Immunizations Are Provided

Immunizations are provided for AI/AN people free of charge at Indian Health Service, Tribal and Urban facilities located in 35 states. Vaccines can also be administered by most health care providers at low or no cost.

Where can I get my child vaccinated?

  • Indian Health Service, Tribal and Urban facilities
  • Local health departments
  • Community, urban or rural health center clinics
  • Vaccines for Children participating provider*

    *American Indian and Alaska Native children 0 through 18 years of age can get vaccines at no cost through the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC). Ask if your healthcare provider is a "VFC" participating provider.

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Vaccination Coverage Levels

Good news! For the first time, the National Immunization Survey (NIS) has reported coverage levels for the Alaska Native population as a distinct population group. Survey results show the success of combined vaccination strategies: vaccination coverage among Alaska Native populations has already exceeded initial goals. To learn more, read the following articles. 

Vaccination Coverage of American Indian/Alaska Native Children Aged 19 to 35 Months: Findings From the National Immunization Survey, 1998–2000External Web Site Policy
Source: American Journal of Public Health, December 2003

Vaccination Coverage Levels Among Alaska Native Children Aged 19-35 Months -- National Immunization Survey, United States, 2000-2001*
Source: MMWR* August 1, 2003 / 52(30);710-713

*Note: The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Series is prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The data in the weekly MMWR are provisional, based on weekly reports to CDC by state health departments.

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Brochures and Flyers

cover of Immunize Our Children tri-fold brochure.

Immunize Our Children Tri-fold Brochure
(2 pages / front and back) UPDATED April 2009 See also:
The Cervical Cancer Vaccine - What Parents of Pre-teens Need to Know
Questions and Answers for Parents about Preteen Vaccines

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Posters

Immunize Our Nations Poster UPDATED May 2009

Immunize Our Children Poster UPDATED May 2009

Reproduction instructions:

  • Downloading and using PDF files
  • If you want to reproduce higher quality or large quantities of these pieces, consider using a local commercial printer. We can provide high-resolution, press-ready files. If you need a high-res file, indicate your printer's specifications in an email request to ncirdwebteam@cdc.gov.

See also:

Preteen Check Up poster
Now is the Time - HPV Vaccine poster

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Links to Government Sites

HHS CMS site for American Indians and Alaska Natives

Indian Health Service: Immunizations

Office of Minority Health: AI/AN Population statistics

Office of Tribal Affairs

National Hepatitis B Initiative for Asian Americans/Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders

Many more links to other sites

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