PHOENIX — In less than a week, with the direction of the Phoenix Fire Department, agencies promoting the COVID-19 vaccine were able to vaccinate 330 west Phoenix residents Saturday morning.
“In this case, people were able to register by calling a 1-800 number as opposed to having to register through the state website. We had bilingual volunteers here to assist and answer questions,” said Thomas Leon of Equality Health Foundation.
Captain Rob McDade with the Phoenix Fire Department told ABC15 the vaccine shipment received put them, as logistical and operational masterminds, at the forefront of getting those vaccinated to wait for 15 minutes to assure that they didn’t have any adverse reaction to the vaccine.
“They (residents) were waiting in line an hour ago before this even started to make sure they were here to get the vaccination,” said Captain McDade.
That was the case for essential worker Maria Martinez and her husband Hermelindo Sanchez who works in construction. When asked how it went for him, Hermelindo gave a thumbs up and said “excellente!”
The couple lives not a mile away from the vaccination pod at Cortez Park near 35th and Dunlap avenues. Each of the 330 appointments that showed up Saturday morning, received the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
Maria Martinez says, “One time only, we are done. I think it’s better to get the one-shot only and get it over with."
The spots filled up fast, as the vaccine is still limited for distribution. Leon admits that the important message aside from those seeing fellow Hispanics and African-Americans participating in Saturday’s event, is the fact that the volunteers are carrying the message onto others to get vaccinated.
Volunteers like Camila Hernandez had to convince her mother to get the vaccine.
Camila Hernandez says, “My mom did take a bit of convincing cause she had this opportunity, she was hesitant, she had heard a lot of stories about people getting sick. I”m like 'mom you have to do this teaching kids protect yourself and those around you.'”
AP Powell, Founder of HEROZONA, a non-profit which focused heavily on getting COVID-19 testing in minority communities, is once again, helping the community not only by putting together today’s event but by bringing other African-American leaders to the forefront.
“We got the Black Chamber, 100 Black Men, 100 Black women, African-American clergy with Pastor Stuart, the fraternities and sororities we want to make sure we unify ourselves so people see we come together. We believe that our community should take this so man up to protect yourself and your family,” said Powell.