District 7 Site Provides Air-Conditioned Accommodations for Efficient MVU Vaccine Event
Gila River Indian News
On June 19, a Mobile Vaccination Unit and Gila River Health Care staff were stationed at the Maricopa Village Christian School in District 7, administering the Pfizer vaccine and booster shots. While summer temperatures continue to rise, GRHC and Gila River Indian Community COVID-19 task force members from the Office of Emergency Management, Community Services Department and Tribal Health Department, remain steadfast about finding sites throughout the Community to provide safe and accommodating locations.
GRHC staffers administered 18 vaccination shots, including one booster shot, with little time spent waiting. Al Chatman Jr., Maricopa Village Christian School Director and Lay Minister, led planning and execution of the event. Chatman ensured accommodations included an indoor location, ample parking, and air conditioning for everyone in attendance.
“We exist to meet the needs of the Community,” said Chatman. “[Maricopa Village Christian School] is a school and a church, so this is just up the alley of how we serve.” The school typically provides transportation for students to receive vaccinations during the school year.
The District 7 Service Center provided incentives for everyone who was vaccinated, including movies, popcorn, and treats for a weekend movie night.
After seeing the flyer on Facebook, teenagers Rasia Perkins and Beulah Cleveland received their first shot that morning. Both are enrolled members of the Navajo Nation and took advantage of the opportunity. Both agreed that the process was quick and the shot felt like a “little pinch.” As they put it afterward, “Everyone who can get a vaccination, should get a vaccination.”
Shannon Begay escorted Rasia and Beulah to the MVU and praised GRIC and GRHC for their ongoing efforts to vaccinate as many people as possible, including federally recognized tribal members and employees of Community entities.
“Gila River Indian Community has done a very good job at coordinating and organizing the process,” said Begay, who was bringing family members to get vaccinated for the second time in the recent past. “(It) flows very well, especially for those who aren’t as familiar with health care services and don’t know what to do or where to go.”
Many youths attended the MVU for vaccination, including GRIC youth Gabriel Coppedge, District 3, who received his booster shot at the District 7 MVU site. Coppedge said he looks forward to returning to typical day-to-day activities and in-person events like going to school in person, fairs and festivals, and public places without the fear of catching COVID. Despite his initial hesitations, he is happy to be protected and hopes more of his peers consider getting their vaccinations.
“Getting the COVID-19 vaccination is great, because not only does it protect you, but also protects others around you,” said Coppedge. “The free goodies you receive are nice, and all of the staff that here are really very nice and help ensure you’re safe.”