ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico National Guard members joined active-duty U.S. Air Force personnel to administer COVID-19 vaccinations at the Wyoming Readiness Center on March 18.
With support and supplies from the NMNG, medical personnel administered some 400 vaccinations to eligible Department of Defense service members, federal technicians, contractors, and beneficiaries from the base.
“The state surgeon’s intent is to vaccinate 70 percent of all people who are eligible to receive the vaccine as soon as we possibly can,” said Lt. Col. Clare Beau Romero, deputy state surgeon for the New Mexico National Guard. “Our intent is to get the vaccines in as many arms as possible as quickly as possible.”
“The National Guard Bureau gave us the approval to reach out to the 377th Medical Group (stationed at Kirtland) to collaborate,” said Sgt. Amanda Montoya, NMNG medical materiel manager and noncommissioned officer in charge of NMNG COVID-19 Team Trident. “We have set up a clinic and received some of their personnel to oversee.”
Members of Team Trident have been able to help vaccinate people ranging from NMNG Soldiers to citizens all over the state.
“I really enjoy being able to help out the state,” said Pfc. Matthew Valdez, a Team Trident member. “Hopefully, we get to open up to more civilians soon so we can start vaccinating even more people.”
The 377th was receiving fewer vaccines than the NMNG, which led to the joint effort. The collaboration allowed NMNG to service Kirtland personnel with additional manpower from the 377th and gave the 377th access to NMNG medical supplies.
“The expectation is to get as many shots in as many arms as possible. We have to accomplish that if we are to get 70 percent of our population inoculated with the COVID vaccine in an expedient manner and as safely as possible,” said Col. Craig Gilcrease, the NMNG’s state surgeon. “The priority is always to continue to prioritize folks that are high risk – older folks, those with significant health issues, high-risk personnel, and essential workers.”
Due to the efforts of groups such as Team Trident across the state, New Mexico has now reached 1 million vaccine doses administered.
“I think the NMNG is very fortunate to be in this position because we have the support of senior leaders in the NGB. The reason we have been so successful with this mission is all the support we have received,” said Romero. “As long as we have vaccines, we’re willing to do whatever we can to take care of those people who need it the most.”