2022 MVU Vaccination Campaign Kicks Off at Gila Crossing School and Community Schools
The Mobile Vaccination Units kicked off its 2022 schedule serving Community families on Jan. 3 at the Gila Crossing Community School (GCCS). With COVID-19 infection rates rising in the Community, holding in-person classes this spring semester remains tentative. But Community schools and the Tribal Education Dept. are taking aggressive steps to vaccinate families and children by providing MVUs at their schools before classes begin Jan 18.
The event drew Community members, staff, and tribal employees out for vaccines and booster shots. A total of 24 vaccinations were given to attendees ages five through adult at GCCS MVU.
“We wanted to be proactive and take the lead with getting families and kids vaccinated and boosted today,” said GCCS Superintendent Jim Mosley. “We have taken additional precautions to help keep this place the safest place possible, including air purification systems, ventilation purification systems, and increased hand sanitation stations. I thank the Gila River Indian Community for providing these upgrades.”
GCCS’s board has passed a mandatory vaccination policy for staff at the school. Today, GCCS boasts a 100% vaccination rate for their staff and faculty.
“We need our students back in school for in-person learning, and one of the best strategies to get there is to have … students and families get vaccinated,” said TED Director Isaac Salcido. “There are many advantages to doing events like this at the schools, but another strategy is to consider ongoing testing for students so we can assure parents that students are getting the medical attention they need and keep students safe for in-person schooling.”
The MVU drew many families to the event to get their scheduled second shot or one of the booster doses approved for teens and adults.
GCCS sixth-grader Crissie Lewis received her first COVID-19 vaccination at the event. As timid as she was that morning, she said afterward that she feels better with an extra layer of protection against COVID-19. Lewis said she hopes to go back to in-person schooling, which she prefers to learning online.
Teenager Savannah Joe also got vaccinated. Her mother brought her and her brother from District 4 to get their booster shots at the MVU event.
“When the cases started going up again, I decided to get the booster. And now I feel better protected going to school and traveling for rodeo,” said Joe. “I think if you go out in public a lot and travel, you should really think about getting vaccinated if you can, especially with the numbers going up.”
Parents and students at Casa Blanca Community School came out to receive their vaccine.
“My children are enrolled at Blackwater Community School and are set to return on the eighteenth,” said Nelliana Terry from District 4. “It’s really accessible. We are just down the road and its way more convenient, knowing all of [us] can come here and get vaccinated.”
During the vaccination clinic held at Sacaton Elementary School, large families came out to get vaccinated as the school prepares to again host in-person classes. Felicia Lewis from District 4 was joined by her son and mother to get vaccinated. Another parent, Deanna Cooper of District 4 brought her four children out to get vaccinated, out of concern for the rise in cases and her family’s safety.
“We all decided to do it out of concern for going back to in-person school and for our safety, with everything being hectic out there,” said Cooper, whose children go to Sacaton Middle School.
Cooper said her family talked over getting the vaccine and the potential stigma surrounding the issue, but ultimately chose to get the shot.
“We didn’t know what the reaction was going to be,” said Cooper, “but we decided it was okay to get vaccinated and everyone was fine with it.”