WINDOW ROCK, Arizona — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has authorized more than 550-million dollars as a stimulus for Diné communities during the omicron surge.
As originally reported by The Salt Lake Tribune, President Nez singed a resolution on January 4 that directed $557 Million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, which was passed early in the Biden administration, to be used for individual stimulus payments. This comes after he approved $16 million in CARES Act money to be reallocated to support Navajo elders nearly a week before.
“87% of our elders, 65 and over, have been vaccinated,” President Nez told FOX 13 in a live interview Sunday morning. “We have had some additional dollars left over from the $714 million CARES Act allocation, so we wanted to get that money to our elderly so they can prepare for the winter.”
Despite the Omicron surge in the Navajo Nation, the rate at which citizens have been fully vaccinated have reduced the amount of people admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 treatment.
“Overall, 72% of our Navajo citizens have been fully vaccinated… We are not seeing those individuals testing positive end up in the hospital.” said Nez. “That shows that the vaccines do work.”
President Nez hopes that the rest of the United States can look to the Navajo Nation’s response to the pandemic as a positive example.
“We all have a stake in this. If we can get vaccinated and follow these protocols, I think the country will be better off,” said Nez. “Here on the Navajo Nation, I hope people see it as a case study, or an example, of how a region can push back on COVID-19, and it starts with following the healthcare protocols.”