Northern Agency chapters on COVID-19 list as health agencies continue vaccine efforts

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Eleven communities in the Northern Agency in San Juan County continue to experience an "uncontrolled spread" of COVID-19.

Beclabito, Hogback, Naschitti, Nenahnezad, Newcomb, San Juan, Sanostee, Sheep Springs, Shiprock, Two Grey Hills and Upper Fruitland were named on the health advisory notice released this week by the Navajo Department of Health.

Keep reading:San Juan County Commission hears update on COVID-19 vaccination efforts

Each community was identified based on the number of infections from Dec. 25, 2020 through Jan. 7, 2021.

Meanwhile, distribution of COVID-19 vaccines continues under a plan led by the health department in collaboration with the Indian Health Service and tribal health organizations.

Residents in Upper Fruitland are reminded on Aug. 14, 2020 to protect themselves from COVID-19 by following recommendations to stay home.

Data released by the health department shows 26,360 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines have been distributed by the federal government to health care facilities on and near the Navajo Nation.

There have been 19,750 doses administered as of Jan. 13, according to the data, which does not include information from facilities operated by the Utah Navajo Health System Inc. or located in Alamo, Ramah or Tóhajiilee.

Read more:Workers at Farmington hospital thankful staff received COVID-19 vaccine

Jill Jim, the tribe's health department director, explained that the tribe's population is estimated at 186,000, so more than 200,000 doses are needed.

"We have not received enough," Jim said in an online town hall on Jan. 14.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses per person and that they be taken within 21 to 28 days of each other to protect against infection.

Jill Jim, director of the Navajo Department of Health, talks about vaccines for COVID-19 during a town hall on Jan. 14.

There are 3,449 people who have received two doses, according to the health department.

Since last week, Northern Navajo Medical Center has been holding vaccination events for Navajos who are 65 and over in chapters under the Shiprock Service Unit.

COVID-19: What to expect when San Juan County gets the coronavirus vaccine

The latest event was on Jan. 14 in Upper Fruitland and the agency has been posting information about such events on the Shiprock Indian Health Service Facebook page.

Other communities in New Mexico on the health advisory list are Baca-Prewitt, Casamero Lake, Chichiltah, Church Rock, Coyote Canyon, Crownpoint, Iyanbito, Lake Valley, Littlewater, Mariano Lake, Mexican Springs, Nahodishgish, Nageezi, Nazlini, Pinedale, Ramah, Red Lake, Red Rock, Rock Springs, Smith Lake, Standing Rock, Thoreau, Tohatchi, Torreon, Tsayatoh and Twin Lakes.

Those outside the state are Aneth, Birdsprings, Black Mesa, Bodaway-Gap, Cameron, Chinle, Coppermine, Cornfields, Dennehotso, Ganado, Hard Rock, Houck, Indian Wells, Inscription House, Jeddito, Kaibeto, Kayenta, Lechee, Leupp, Lukachukai, Lupton, Many Farms, Nahata Dziil, Oak Springs, Oljato, Piñon, Red Mesa, Red Valley, Rock Point, Rough Rock, Round Rock, Shonto, St. Michaels, Sweetwater, Tachee-Blue Gap, Teec Nos Pos, Tonalea, Tsaile-Wheatfields, Tuba City and Whippoorwill.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

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