Bernalillo’s drive-thru shot clinic sings its last hurrah

Story and photos by Amy Byres with the Rio Rancho Observer

About 5,000 COVID-19 shots have been administered in Bernalillo at a drive-thru shot clinic at the town’s recreation center.

Sandoval County Fire Rescue Chief Eric Masterson said the demand has almost been met in the demographics targeted, making Thursday’s drive-thru event the last. However, if demand increases, Masterson can collaborate with partners to organize another event.

The Bernalillo drive-thru served seniors, teachers and other people at higher risk from COVID-19.

“Even though I am Sandoval County Fire, I have been a part of this community since I started in 2005, when I was a floor firefighter and paramedic — before I became a chief officer. Probably 85-90 percent of the calls I ran as a paramedic were right here in town,” Masterson said. “This community I feel just as attached to as any community in Sandoval County.”

Sandoval County Fire and Rescue, New Mexico Aging and Long-term Services Department, Albertsons Pharmacy, the Town of Bernalillo and the Sandoval County Senior Center collaborated to offer the drive-thru.

“I look at Sandoval County as one giant community, and as the fire chief, it is my job to be there for them, regardless of jurisdiction, regardless of need,” he said.

For every person giving a shot, about four or five people at the event helped get vaccines to that individual to administer to the patient. About 85 percent of the event is organizing, and the other 15 percent is the actual administration of the shot, Masterson said.

Town of Bernalillo Mayor Jack Torres and Sandoval County Commissioner Katherine Bruch, District 1, stopped by Thursday.

“We have heard nothing but positive reactions from people who have been through here, so it is great to see government working well, especially with private companies,” Torres said.

Bruch represents a large portion of the town.

“I have just been absolutely thrilled with how amazing the vaccine clinics have been here in the town of Bernalillo, just a wonderful support for the eastern part of the county,” she said.

If town residents feel there is still a need for an event like this, they can contact the Sandoval County Fire and Rescue Department at 867-0245 or contact the Bernalillo mayor’s office at 771-7108.