By Sue Gruman Kraft
Mahnomen County leads in the state of Minnesota with the highest percentage of its population vaccinated.
According to the MN Department of Health website: With regards to vaccine distribution, as of January 31, Mahnomen County, with a population estimated at 5,506 people, currently has over 1,354 people who have at least had their first dose of vaccine.
That means that 24.6 percent of the county population has received at least one dose of vaccine. There were 193 reported as having had two doses of vaccine. The numbers are expected to climb higher, as vaccinations are being given weekly.
Mahnomen County residents have multiple options for vaccine sources. Mahnomen County, which has a smaller population, is also the only county in Minnesota totally within the boundaries of a reservation. As a result, it has also benefitted from the vaccinations allocated to the White Earth Indian Reservation.
White Earth Indian Health Service (IHS) clinic received an allocation early in the vaccination process from the National Indian Health Service. This was stated in an earlier press release.
The White Earth Reservation has been working with the Norman-Mahnomen County Nursing Service. Mahnomen Health Center has been a valuable resource. There is also one Emergency Management Coordinator who serves both Mahnomen County and the White Earth Reservation, Ed Snetsinger.
On Monday, February 1, Ed Snetsinger stated: “There are several reasons for the initial success: Hard Work – Extensive work by White Earth Home Health, Indian Health Service, Norman-Mahnomen Public Health, and The Mahnomen Health Center. Community Based Care – Providing vaccination clinics out into our communities. Planning – creating and implementation of the vaccination plan. Community buy-in – community members willing to be vaccinated.”
Weekly vaccination clinics, which are being held at locations throughout the reservation by White Earth Nation, are helping to get the job done. You must live on the White Earth Reservation in order to receive your vaccination at these local clinics.
Informaton is provided weekly on the White Earth Nation Facebook site as to who is eligible. As of the end of January, they were vaccinating people living on the reservation who were 55 and older, and some residents as young as 45 if they had underlying health conditions.
There has been very little hesitancy to get the vaccine. Residents are just happy to have an opportunity to get the vaccinations and be protected.
For questions regarding the COVID vaccine, call 1-833-989-2873 or 983-4684 option #5. More groups will become eligible in coming weeks.