IHS encourages vaccination against H1N1 virus

[Wes Studi and Flu: Take 3 to Protect the Circle of Life]
All American Indians and Alaska Natives need to get vaccinated against the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, officials with the Department of Health and Human Services said today.

The virus has "hit Indian Country especially hard," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Everyone needs to get their H1N1 vaccine," added Indian Health Service Director Yvette Roubideaux.

To encourage vaccinations, HHS released the first in a series of public service announcement. Actor Wes Studi, a member of the Cherokee Nation who stars in the blockbuster hit Avatar, appears in the videos at Flu.gov.

""There is enough vaccine for everyone," said Sebelius. Tribal members should contact their local or area IHS, said Roubideaux.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Indians and Alaska Natives are more likely to die from H1N1 than any other racial or ethnic group.