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Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Vaccines & Immunizations

For Specific Groups of People:

American Indian / Alaskan Native Vaccination
Protect the Circle of Life: Immunize Our Nations

"Let us put our minds together to see what life we can make for our children." --Sitting Bull, Lakota Sioux, 1877

Why Immunize Our Children

Responsibility to our communities

Ensuring the safety and health of our American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities is our responsibility. If enough people in our communities are protected, vaccine-preventable diseases will not be passed to our children, our families, and our communities.

Responsibility to our families

It is especially important to ensure the health of our families. An infant's immune system does not yet have the necessary defenses to fight off infectious diseases. This makes our children more susceptible to these illnesses. Immunization is one of the most important tools we have to protect our children from disease.

Vaccines protect Natives

Immunization can protect Natives from vaccine-preventable diseases that continue to threaten Native people at a much higher rate than other ethnicities.

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Vaccines Can Prevent These Diseases

  • Bacterial Meningitis
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (German measles)
  • Polio
  • Diphtheria, Pertussis, (whooping cough), Tetanus, (lockjaw)
  • Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B
  • Pneumococcal diseases
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
But I've never even seen some of these diseases!

Today, we see fewer people getting sick from these diseases in the U.S. The reason is that responsible health care providers and parents have given millions of children vaccines over the past years.

But don't be fooled. Those diseases are still out there. If we stop giving our children vaccines, the diseases that made people sick and even killed them only a few years ago will return.

Respecting the circle:
  • By taking preventive measures, such as getting immunizations against disease...
  • By ensuring that our nations thrive mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically...
  • By respecting the connection between our physical health and our environment health...

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Where Immunizations Are Provided

There are 12 Indian Health Services located around the country. Immunizations are provided for Native people free of charge at these agencies. However, vaccines can be administered by most health care providers at low or no cost.

Where can I get my child vaccinated?
  • Indian Health Service facilities
  • Local health departments
  • Community, urban or rural health center clinics
  • Vaccines for Children participating provider*

    *American Indian and Alaska Native children, through 18 years of age, can get vaccines through the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) at no charge. Ask if your doctor is a "VFC" participating provider. If your doctor is, you can get your child's shots in the doctor's office.

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Vaccination Coverage Levels

Good news! For the first time, the National Immunization Survey (NIS) has reported coverage levels for the Alaska Native population as a distinct population group. Survey results show the success of combined vaccination strategies: vaccination coverage among Alaska Native populations has already exceeded initial goals. To learn more, read the following articles. 

Vaccination Coverage of American Indian/Alaska Native Children Aged 19 to 35 Months: Findings From the National Immunization Survey, 1998–2000
Source: American Journal of Public Health, December 2003
www.ajph.org/cgi/content/full/93/12/2046 (exit)

Vaccination Coverage Levels Among Alaska Native Children Aged 19-35 Months -- National Immunization Survey, United States, 2000-2001
Source: MMWR* August 1, 2003 / 52(30);710-713
www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5230a6.htm (exit)

*Note: The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Series is prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The data in the weekly MMWR are provisional, based on weekly reports to CDC by state health departments.

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small image of cover of brochure

2003 Immunize Our Children Tri-fold Brochure

See also: CDC's brochure on Hepatitis A

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2003 Immunize Our Nations Poster

2003 Immunize Our Children Poster
Reproduction instructions:

Office Printer: You can download black and white or color versions of these files in .pdf format for PRINT with your office laser printer or color printer.

Local Copy Center: Materials in color or black and white .pdf format can be reproduced at a local copy center.

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Contact Information

CDC Information Contact Center
1-888-232-6348 (TTY-deaf and hard of hearing)

9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. EST

CDC website:

more info:
NCIRD website contact page
(National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases' mailing address, fax number, e-mail address, etc.)
Vaccines for Children Program (VFC)
VFC website:

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Links To Government Sites

DHHS Healthfinder site for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Indian Health Service
Office of Minority Health
Office of Tribal Affairs

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 Return to Specific Groups main page

Non-CDC Link Disclaimer: Links to non-Federal organizations found at this site are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the Federal Government, and none should be inferred. The CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization web pages found at these links.

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This page last modified on August 5, 2008
Content last reviewed on February 6, 2004
Content Source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases

Quick Links

Safer Healthier People

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A
Public Inquiries: 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636); 1-888-232-6348 (TTY)

Vaccines and Immunizations