A Watchdog Dings the Indian Health Service’s Early COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout – GovExec.com

by | Oct 24, 2022 | COVID-19

A federal watchdog dinged the Indian Health Service’s early execution of its COVID-19 vaccine plan for Tribal health programs, which serve some of the communities hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. The Health and Human Services Department Office of Inspector General released a report last week on the Indian Health Service’s implementation of their Memorandum of Agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (which it entered into in November 2020) and its plan, issued around the same time, outlining how it would carry out the delivery and administration of vaccines. “IHS did not fulfill all of the provisions outlined in the MOA and its Vaccine Plan to help ensure that the vaccination program was implemented appropriately at Tribal [health] programs,” said the report released last week, which covers the time period of mid-December 2020 to late February 2021. “Though Tribal programs were permitted to prioritize vaccines to protect their tribal members, IHS, as a jurisdiction, had responsibilities outlined in [both] to ensure that the vaccination program was implemented appropriately.” Tribal health programs authorized under the 1975 Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act let Native American Tribes and Tribal organizations provide health care programs and services that IHS would have otherwise offered. These are one of the three IHS programs and provide care to most IHS beneficiaries, so they were expected to carry out most of the vaccinations, the report noted. That is what the IG looked at exclusively. Specifically, IHS didn’t always …

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