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Memorial Medical Center (MMC) delivered its first dose of COVID-19 vaccine last Dec. 16, and surpassed the 20,000-delivery mark Thursday morning, April 8.
“We’ve become a well-oiled machine,” MMC Director of Marketing and Communications Ryan Perkins said in an April 9 telephone interview. “We really have vaccination clinics down to a science.”
All told, MCC had administered 20,406 doses of vaccine as of April 8, averaging about 1,275 doses per week over the past 16 weeks.
Perkins said MMC has delivered the Pfizer vaccine almost exclusively, but also administered 800 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in one single day earlier this year – its busiest so far as a vaccine provider.
Perkins said MMC’s core vaccine delivery team comprises 36 staff, providing appointment-only vaccines three days a week to begin with and now increased to four days a week.
Perkins said the lines of people waiting to receive the vaccine are moving quickly at the hospital. If an individual already has his or her paperwork complete, the time spent from walking in the door until a Band-Aid is placed over the injection site could be as little as three to four minutes, plus the 15-minute observation period, he said.
“It’s super quick and easy to get through the line,” Perkins said.
Throughout the vaccination process and, in fact, throughout the pandemic, Perkins said MMC has been “really impressed with the level of cooperation” it has received from the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH), the city of Las Cruces, Doña Ana County, other healthcare providers, local businesses and nonprofits, other groups and individuals.
“The community has come out and supported us,” he said.
And NMDOH has even assisted local providers with data entry to help keep the state current with the number of local residents receiving the vaccine, Perkins said.
Some of the programs MMC has developed during the pandemic will continue “after COVID goes away,” Perkins said. The COVID to Home program the hospital has jointly administered with the city, the county Electronic Caregiver, and other private companies, for example, has become “a model that transformed how we deliver care,” he said.
Perkins encouraged the community to go to vaccinenm.org to sign up to get vaccinated.