The Meskwaki Nation’s Health Clinic has received the “Heroes in Health Award” for its COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
The Award is the highest honor given out by the National Indian Health Board. Meskwaki Health Clinic director, Rudy Papakee, says they used CARES Act funding to purchase a travel bus to create a mobile vaccine clinic.
“So we’re able to take tables, vaccines, staff, supplies necessary and do a lot of outreach clinics, both, you know, locally to the Tama, Toledo, Iowa area. And then also in the Des Moines area, Newton, Marshalltown,” he says. He says they also offered gift cards as incentives for tribal employees and local Native Americans to get the shot.
“The people that were on the fence were the ones that kind of said, Well, hey, you know, for a couple hundred bucks, I’m going to get the vaccine now,” Papakee says. He estimates just under 90 percent of the settlement’s eligible population is now fully vaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control says Iowa’s statewide vaccination rate is 63 percent.
(By Natalie Krebs, Iowa Public Radio)