The Lummi Nation has withdrawn from AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine trial, according to a news release from the tribe.

The tribe, Washington’s third largest, cited “ongoing communications challenges” with AstraZeneca.

Tribal members had yet to receive a vaccination as part of AstraZeneca’s clinical trial, said Brad Angerman, a spokesperson for the tribe.

The AstraZeneca clinical trial remains on hold for investigation in the United States after a volunteer developed an illness, The New York Times has reported. Trials for the AstraZeneca vaccine have resumed in other countries.

The Lummi Public Health Department is partnering with the University of Washington Department of Medicine and the U.S. National Institutes of Health Coronavirus Prevention Network as it considers taking part in clinical trials for vaccines against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

“We expect any vaccine trial we enroll in to meet the highest standards,” said Dr. Dakotah Lane, medical director for the Lummi Nation and also a tribal member. “While the AstraZeneca trial is not a good fit at this time, we will assess future trials to see if they are safe and appropriate for our tribal members who wish to participate.”

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Dr. Dakotah Lane is a Lummi tribal member and medical director for his tribe. (Tara Olsen)
Dr. Dakotah Lane is a Lummi tribal member and medical director for his tribe. (Tara Olsen)

COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on Native American communities.

A study published in August found that American Indians and Alaska Natives represented 1.3% of COVID-19 cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These communities make up 0.7% of the U.S. population.

Native Americans are hospitalized at a rate 5.3 times higher than white Americans, according to the CDC.

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