Latest COVID-19 Statistics the Community & Updates to Vaccines Administered to GRIC Members

Emma Hughes

Gila River Indian News


With a decrease in COVID-19 cases in the Gila River Indian Community and with reports and consultations with the Tribal Health Department, GRIC leadership worked to adjust some of the restrictions brought on by the pandemic. This included raising the limit of people allowed in a gathering, from five to ten and re-opening the Community in phases. 


Tribal Health’s COVID-19 data reported 6,466 positive cases. 2,908 of those cases are GRIC members as of April 14. Overall, the state has reached 851,265 positive cases as of April 14. Maricopa and Pima county have reported the most cases, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.


“Please make no mistake, we’re far from done with this pandemic,” said Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis about the new amendments while reminding Community members of the coronavirus variants, “There’s one thing you can do to help the Community get to the other side of the virus quicker and that’s getting vaccinated.” 


Gov. Lewis attributed the decrease of cases in the Community to continued testing, vaccination, and the following Community health guidelines. “There are warnings signs out there that we may be soon facing another surge of the virus,” said Gov. Lewis about the new variants that have been found, including in Arizona. There are now five variants of the virus, according to the CDC. 


Eligibility for the Pfizer vaccine can now be administered to ages 16 and 17, with the consent of a parent or guardian by appointment only with GRHC. The Moderna is available to recipients 18 years and older. Individuals who have received the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are expected to be fully vaccinated two-weeks after receiving the second dose. 

In recent developments, the GRHC has suspended administering of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 


According to a Communications & Public Affairs press release, the Community made the decision based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the Indian Health Service to pause administration of the J&J vaccine. 


The halt of the J&J vaccine is based on reports from six individuals in the United States, who experienced rare adverse effects from the vaccine. It is important to note that none of the reports originated from vaccines given in the Community and those six cases are out of 6.8 million total J&J vaccines administered across the United States.