Arizona National Guard Partners with Gila River Indian Community For Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Event

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Gila River Emergency Management Services (EMS)
A Gila River Emergency Management Services (EMS) employee walks from vehicle to vehicle, checking on Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) members to help ensure their safety after receiving COVID-19 vaccinations at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park Feb. 20. Gila River EMS joined forces with Arizona National Guard (AZNG) Soldiers, Gila River Health Care workers, Indian Health Services, and GRIC community volunteers to provide more than 600 vaccinations to the GRIC community (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Hoppe, Released).
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The Arizona National Guard partnered with Gila River Indian Community and several GRIC organizations during a large-scale, drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination event at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix Feb. 20., 2021.

During the event, more than 600 COVID-19 vaccinations were administered to tribal members that will help provide much needed relief to their community.

Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) health workers and volunteers
Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) health workers and volunteers register and track patient information as they progress through one of four stations during a COVID-19 vaccination event at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park Feb. 20. Several GRIC organizations, Indian Health Services, and over 40 Arizona National Guard (AZNG) Soldiers partnered together to administer more than 600 COVID-19 vaccinations to GRIC members (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Hoppe, Released).

“This disease has no border. It comes for any race, color, or religion.” said GRIC Lt. Gov. Monica Antone. “So to see the response of a COVID-19 effort, like this, with two communities that work together, it means a lot.”

More than 40 Citizen-Soldiers with Task Forces Medical and Logistics, and the 996th Area Support Medical Company answered the call by serving in various roles during the vaccination event including registration support, logistics support, administering vaccinations, controlling traffic, and various other joint cooperation efforts – making this the first time that a drill status unit like the 996th has been able to join forces with an AZNG COVID-19 task force.

“This is a good foot in the community, in showing our presence in the community, and actually helping the community with such a virus and mass efforts of providing vaccinations”, said Maj. Robert Rodriguez, a Physician Assistant with the 996th Area Support Medical Company.

The event is yet another partnership in a long history between the AZNG and GRIC members, who were a part of the first National Guard that got stood up in the mid-1800s.

The GRIC praised everyone involved for their help and they hope that the mass vaccination event will provide much needed pandemic relief to their community and serve as a learning experience for other organizations looking to host similar events, helping to remind everyone that we are all in this together.

Arizona National Guard Soldier
An Arizona National Guard Soldier assigned to Task Force Med logs patient information before administering a COVID-19 vaccination to a Gila River Indian Community member during a large vaccination event at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park Feb. 20. The vaccination event marks the first time that a unit on a drill status was able to join an AZNG COVID-19 mission, providing valuable training to Servicemembers and much needed help to the community (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Hoppe, Released).
Gila River Indian Community
The Gila River Indian Community partnered with the Arizona National Guard and five other emegency and health organizations Feb. 20 to host a COVID-19 vaccination event at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix that administered over 900 vaccinations to community members. The GRIC hopes that the event will help provide much needed pandemic relief to their community members and serve as a learning experience for other organizations hoping to host similar events, serving as a reminder that we are all in this together (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Hoppe, Released).
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