New Mexico VA Health Care System
Gallup CBOC Administers COVID19 Vaccine
Gallup area Veterans that receive their care at the local Community Based Outpatient Care (CBOC) facility were able to receive their 1st doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week.
Over 50 Veteran Patients began to line up as early as 8:30 am in efforts to receive their vaccinations via drive-through format. Area recipients, 65 and above, that registered to receive the vaccine were called 2 weeks prior, to schedule their shots.
The Veterans that pulled into the CBOC all seemed to be in good spirits and many of them were filled with joy as they could now rest assured that they were going to be vaccinated. Vietnam Veteran, Thomas Latham, recalls the times he had to get vaccinated while he served in the U.S. Army's Special Ops Division and notated how convenient it was back then.
“Getting my shot here at the CBOC is also very convenient and it sure beats having to drive all the way to the Albuquerque VA for my shot.” said Latham. Latham went on to state how important it is for all of us to get the vaccine to protect ourselves and others from the virus.
Clinicians, working at the Gallup CBOC were very organized when it comes to scheduling and parking arrangements for the vaccination process. Veterans were scheduled weeks in advance, and they were provided with a map and instructions on where to park prior to their visit. As they pulled into their parking spot, each Veteran was then provided with a list of possible side affects that they might experience from the vaccination. They were also provided with a vaccination card and a reminder as to when they should return their booster shot.
ACS Clinic Director/Farmington CBOC, Matt Merrill, who made the drive down from the Farmington CBOC, has seen an upswing of Veterans as of late that are showing interest in receiving the vaccine.
“It is nice to be able to offer this service here at the CBOC’s. I think it is appreciated by both the VA staff as well as the rural area Veteran patients,” said Merrill.
The bright sunny day in combination with warmer than average temperatures in the Gallup area made it easy for those rural commuters that ventured up for the vaccine.
Korean War Veteran, Celestino Lucero, made the drive up from Gallup’s West Mesa and was one of the first Veterans in line to receive his shot at the CBOC location.
“I am glad the VA scheduled me for my appointment today as I hear there is a cold front moving in tomorrow,” said Lucero
As the waiting line, which started out as fast and furious and later calmed down to a handful of Veterans in the afternoon hours, the staff felt happy as their seemed to be an overwhelming sense of calmness in the air. Knowing that the Veterans that were vaccinated today will not only improve their chances of immunity vs coronavirus, but also help keep their families and their local community stay safe as well.
*All CBOC locations throughout the NMVAHCS were also able to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to rural area Veterans during the last week of February 2021, with booster shots scheduled three weeks later.