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Navajo Nation Council Mandates Vaccines For Tribal Government Employees

(Nina Mayer Ritchie/Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health via AP)

The Navajo Nation Council has passed legislation requiring all government employees across the reservation to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It also presses schools and all Navajo-owned businesses to adopt similar vaccine requirements. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The bill mandates all workers across the tribe’s legislative, executive and judicial branches along with employees of local chapters to receive their shots by late next month. Any workers who aren’t fully vaccinated will be required to provide documentation of a negative COVID test every 14 days. According to the legislation, violations of the bill’s requirements could be followed with disciplinary measures.

The bill was passed by the council in special session. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez neither signed nor vetoed it, allowing the legislation to immediately go into effect more than two weeks ago. According to Nez’s office, the council’s bill reaffirms an executive order he issued last month mandating all tribal employees to get vaccinated by the end of September.

Within the Navajo executive branch, 85% of employees have so far been fully vaccinated.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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