GILA RIVER INDIAN COMMUNITY — A 20-foot truck, customized to stop the pandemic in its tracks, will hit the road in the next week throughout the Gila River Indian Community.
“We’re a very rural community, we’re very spread out and some of the elders, some that may have no transportation, this is an opportunity for us to target them,” said Gila River Indian Governor Stephen Roe Lewis.
The mobile vaccine clinic, built with Cares Act dollars, will wheel its way into different crevices of the reservation, an area that remains 60% unvaccinated.
“We have community houses of worship, we go set up outside there, we can set up safely outside our gas stations, our markets,” said Lewis.
Like a modern camper, the truck unfolds to create the mobile facility. With two different wings, multiple people can get the vaccine at the same time.
Negative airflow systems allow for air-conditioning to keep patients cool and ventilation to keep them safe. Built-in freezers allow the distribution of every one of the available vaccines.
“We see that every shot in the arm is saving lives we’re trying to build towards what I term a community of immunity so that’s kind of been the call to arms here,” said Lewis.
The fleet of eight trucks is wrapped in symbols and colors, honoring the culture of this unique community and sending a vibrant message of hope.