GRIC COVID-19 Vaccine Programs Forge On to Reach Community Immunity
Gila River Indian News
The Gila River Indian Community’s program to vaccinate members against COVID-19 continues to move forward, with vaccinations available by appointment through Gila River Health Care and at Mobile Vaccination Unit (MVU) events in multiple GRIC districts.
Thus far, the program has administered more than 24,000 vaccinations. As of Sept. 28, 51 percent of adults who reside within GRIC boundaries are fully vaccinated.
The District 5 Service Center MVU event on Saturday, Sept. 18 provided primary and booster shots for 49 individuals, including many younger Community members.
“I want to be safe from COVID, I don’t want to get others sick and I want to keep myself safe,” said Natalie Lopez, 12, who received her second dose of the vaccine along with her two sisters, Alicia and Esperer Lopez from District 4. The Lopez girls shared that they chose to get vaccinated to be safe for their family and those around them.
Samiria Juan, D5, former Jr. Miss Gila River, also received her second dose of the vaccine. She chose to get vaccinated to protect her younger brothers, who are both high-risk.
“It’ll help a lot of people, especially yourself,” said Juan. “I strongly encourage other youth or people in general in the Community to get their vaccination, so they can keep themselves and others safe.”
GRIC members vaccinated at the event received gift cards and a choice of a t-shirt, stickers or a pop socket provided by the District 5 Service Center.
Gifts were also given at the District 6 MVU event held at the Learning Center on Sept. 25, where about two dozen Community members came to get COVID-19 vaccinations.
“I came in to get vaccinated for my grandson. There’s no vaccine at his age, so it is important that I get vaccinated, because I babysit him every day,” said Denise Talamantez from District 6.
Talamantez cited high COVID case numbers as a reason to get vaccinated, especially for people who visit or live around family members. It was a reason heard frequently from those getting vaccinated.
“I work in oncology right now around cancer patients,” said Precious Jose, a GRIC urban member. “I thought about the patients I see and most of all my kids. Think about your family and all those who are around you. Getting vaccinated will protect them as well.”
GRIC member Josephine John, District 6, said with different variants of COVID-19 being transmitted from person to person, the decision to get vaccinated was an easy one.
“I realized it’s not something that will go away soon, because there are so many people who are getting sick and in some cases dying,” said John.
John explained that she had been hesitant to get vaccinated, having heard rumors about the vaccine, but later changed her mind.
“Overall, I decided to get vaccinated to be safe around my family,” she said. “I know with me being vaccinated, it will make the visits by family members safe for them and me.”
Appointment for vaccinations and for booster shots can be scheduled at a Gila River Health Care primary care facility by calling (602) 528-1482. For more information, including testing and vaccination dates and sites, visit grhc.org/hub or call the COVID-19 hotline at (520) 550-6079.