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    NGET provide vaccinations to rural areas of NM

    NGET provide vaccinations to rural areas of NM

    Photo By Sgt. Cesar Salazar Jr. | Spc. Jose Villegas, a medic with the 1209th MCAS, and Spc. Angelica Vargas, a medic...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Cesar Salazar Jr. 

    200th Public Affairs Detachment

    LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico National Guard Equity Teams (NGET) are administering COVID-19 vaccinations in rural areas around the state of New Mexico.

    By distributing vaccines to such harder to reach areas, the New Mexico Department of Health and the NMNG are ensuring that all citizens of the state have access to COVID-19 vaccines.

    “The NGET are a proof-of-principle to ensure that the equity of vaccine distribution and allocation throughout the state are maximized,” said Col. Jamison Herrera, director of the Joint Staff and officer-in-charge of NMNG’s COVID-19 response.

    “We don’t want to just hit the metropolitan areas where most people live. We want to ensure that all people of every demographic and socioeconomic status are served the ability to obtain a vaccine,” Herrera said.

    The Moderna and Pfizer two-dose vaccines, which require specialized refrigeration often available only in urban areas, pose a greater challenge for distribution in outlying communities.

    The newer Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose shot without the same refrigeration requirements. As such, it allows for vaccinating residents of rural areas in a single trip.

    “We’re scattered all over the southern half of the state—anywhere from Columbus over to Silver City and as far as Roswell,” said New Mexico Air Guard Master Sgt. Scott Maass, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of NGET South. “Our goal is to vaccinate the locals, and we really enjoy going out to the smaller communities.”

    NGET South is comprised of 30 troops from the Army and Air National Guard serving in medical, distribution and organizational capacities. The team serves the lower half of New Mexico and usually provides up to 200 doses at events—sometimes up to a thousand doses in more populated areas.

    “It’s been really fun. I’m really lucky to be with a great team. We know how to work together, so it works out really smooth,” said Spc. Angelica Vargas, an Army medic with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 200th Infantry.

    “I look forward to being done and hopefully being able to vaccinate the rest of the population. I’m really grateful to be a part of this,” Vargas said. She has been serving on the COVID response team since April 2020.

    “This mission has been going great,” said Sgt. Matthew Nesbit, another medic with 1-200th Infantry. “We’re working with the Department of Health and local authorities, and that has been going pretty smooth.”

    Nesbit has also been on the COVID response mission since April 2020.

    “We’ve been doing vaccinations more recently, but initially we did just nasopharyngeal swabs,” Nesbit said. “I appreciate the opportunity to help out the community.”

    Thanks to initiatives such as the NGET, approximately 50 percent of New Mexican adults have received at least one vaccination dose.

    “This mission with the National Guard Equity Team is very good,” said Kevin Hoban, the Fire Chief of Mesilla Valley. “They’re well organized, and they know what they’re doing. It’s been a good opportunity to work with them and support what’s going on in the state.”

    The NGETs have additional vaccination clinics scheduled for the future. New Mexicans can register for a COVID-19 vaccine at online.

    “The NGET are important because it goes back to the basis of our mission: We serve all New Mexicans,” said Herrera.



    Date Taken: 04.07.2021
    Date Posted: 04.08.2021 15:35
    Story ID: 393366

    Web Views: 85
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