Yolanda Trent said she felt a weight lifted off her shoulders the moment she received her COVID-19 vaccination Wednesday from Sandoval County’s mobile immunization team. Amy Byres photo.

The COVID-19 vaccine hit the road in a mobile unit to bring the shot to those who are home-bound.
“This is incredibly rewarding for us all to be able to get out into our community and help get people vaccinated, especially those with mobility issues,” said Sandoval County Fire and Rescue Chief Eric Masterson.
The Mireles family was in high spirits on Wednesday when SCFR Battalion Chief Greg Bobick and firefighter-paramedic Shannon Farrell showed up at their house with five Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Residing in the home is Angel Mireles, who is on hospice care. Mary Mireles, his grandmother and caretaker, said the vaccine brings their family hope.
“The last year had been pretty rough. We are pretty used to going out and about. Hospice for (Angel) offers concerts, Isotopes, the whole works. We got tickets for everything for him,” she said. “So we are used to going out and about with him because he is in his last stages of hospice. So it has really been difficult because we haven’t been able to do anything as a family.”
With the family now vaccinated, they are looking forward to eating at restaurants and visiting family, she said.
During the 30-minute observation period of the family, Bobick took an opportunity to connect with them, swap funny stories and fill the room with smiles and laughter.
“I love to interact with the families,” he said. “This is something a lot of families have really been looking forward to and wanting to do.”
Connecting with community members happens daily, Bobick said.
“I think that is part of the reason why we like the job,” Farrell said.
The next stop was to a resident of 26 years, Yolanda Trent. She said a weight was lifted off her shoulders the moment she received the shot.
“It’s been hard just to go out; I am just paranoid, you know? It’s like, I need to get my vaccine, I need to get it,” Trent said, tearing up.
The mobile vaccination team is a “dream come true” for Trent, who has lung-related health issues and is considered high-risk, she said.
The team has been dispatched once a week over the past three weeks, according to Masterson.
With the help of SCFR, Rio Rancho Fire Rescue Department and Corrales Fire Department, he was able to create three teams. The teams have vaccinated about 100 people, 30 of them on Wednesday.
“This was a collaborative effort by everyone to ensure that our community members with mobility issues that have been unable to get to a vaccine site get vaccinated,” Masterson said.
Sandoval County Public Health Office worked with the New Mexico Department of Health to get people registered for a mobile vaccination.
“The mobility question was recently added to the DOH registration. Anyone with mobility issues that registered back in December or January may not have answered that question,” Masterson said. “They can update their profile now by logging back in.”
The DOH was also essential in supplying the county with J&J vaccines that ensure an efficient process since the vaccine does not require a booster, he said.
The J&J vaccine is about 66.3 percent effective against COVID-19, and no one who contracted COVID-19 at least four weeks after getting the vaccine had to be hospitalized, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The county collaborated with senior programs, the Village of Corrales and the City of Rio Rancho to gather names of residents with mobility issues.
“We will continue to be collaborative with any partner we can to ensure our communities are safe and we will always advocate for whatever we can to fulfill that mission,” Masterson said. “We encourage everyone to get vaccinated, stay safe and please let us know if we can be of assistance.”

Angel Mireles, who is on hospice care, received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from Sandoval County Fire and Rescue Paramedic Firefighter Shannon Farrell. Amy Byres photo.

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Staff writer at Rio Rancho Observer