April 15, 2021

Vice Chairman Murkowski Highlights Alaska’s Progress During Hearing on Coronavirus Response in Native Communities

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, provided the following remarks during an oversight hearing on “Examining the COVID-19 Response in Native Communities: Native Health Systems One Year Later.”


Pictured: Senator Murkowski (left) with Senator Schatz (right) during hearing on April 14, 2021


“The coronavirus pandemic has created major challenges for our native health care systems across the country and revealed longstanding deficiencies in infrastructure, resources and staff which we need to work on. But there have been some bright spots along the way over the last year that deserve recognition,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski. “With the Alaska Tribal health care system coordinating with the state, Alaska now has 44 percent of the over age 16 population vaccinated with at least one dose, and over 40 percent of those vaccinations were administered through the tribal health system. Their efforts have made a tremendous impact on the lives of Alaskans.”


The hearing included testimony from two Alaskans:


·        Dr. Robert Onders, Administrator of the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, AK; and

·        The Honorable William Smith, Chairperson and Alaska Representative for the National Indian Health Board.


Video and witness testimony from the hearing are available here.