A day with the mobile clinic taking the coronavirus vaccine to rural areas of Araucanía

“Today we are going to start vaccinating the bedridden patients and those with reduced mobility that we plan to reach with this important vaccine against Covid. It started on February 3rd this year,” said Susana Cares, a nurse with Cesfam Alemania, just before getting on board one of the mobile clinics that have been traversing the rural areas of the Regions of Biobío and Araucanía over the last month helping to immunize the population against the Coronavirus.

Traveling along narrow and sometimes dirt roads near the heart of Angol, Susana explains that at Cesfam where she works, “It is hard to connect the resources that the clinics have today with a key group of people who are bedridden or have reduced mobility,” therefore, “The mobile clinic is an essential opportunity.” 

She added, “Having this high-quality service includes not only transportation, but also computer support for registration, which is important for the vaccination process.” 

This is precisely the goal aimed at by this initiative with the support of Desafío Levantemos Chile and CMPC. The two fully equipped mobile clinics are registering people online to be added to the national vaccination registry of the Ministry of Health.   

Teachers, senior citizens, some people with handicaps, chronic diseases or any resident having a hard time getting around have all been helped by this campaign.

The Executive Director of Desafío Levantemos Chile Nicolás Birrell said, “Today we have a new challenge; helping the Health Service with the vaccination process, above all in rural areas that are difficult to reach. That is why along with CMPC we’ve made available a new fleet of mobile clinics. Once again, we are able to offer concrete material support for the second phase of the pandemic.”

CMPC Public Affairs Manager Augusto Robert said, “As a company we have tried to provide support since the start of the pandemic working hand-in-hand with the community, authorities and institutions in each municipality where we have forestry and industrial operations. These clinics will criss-cross the Provinces of Malleco and Bio Bío, and we’re very pleased that we can support the vaccination process.” 

Two stops

While mobile clinic driver Felipe Campos travels along the streets set apart from Angol with the whole team on board he says, “We can reach places that others can’t with this vehicle, where people really need it, bedridden and sick people. Doing my small part to help save lives is very gratifying.”

In fact, Nuria Córdoba, the mother of a youth with reduced mobility, affirms, “I’m very grateful that the mobile clinic can come to my house to vaccinate and check out my son. It’s excellent. 

The clinic also stopped to see Sonia Valenzuela who cannot get around. After getting her vaccine she said, “I think it’s great that they’re coming to vaccinate us because we can’t walk to where they provide the injections. On top of that, it’s free, which is great for bedridden and elderly folks. 

Stories like this are repeated by many people who’ve been helped by the mobile clinics, whether they are senior citizens, those with chronic illnesses or simply being unaware of the vaccination process.

Bernardita Morandana is one of the complex cases that was attended by the mobile clinic staff. “My case is special because my mom has been bedridden for more than ten years. She and I both have chronic illnesses. It’s hard for us to go out and get vaccinated. It’s complicated so we are thankful for these measures being taken.” 

As of today more than five million of these people have been vaccinated with their first dose in Chile. The goal is to have the whole at-risk population covered during the first four months of the year and 80% of the entire population midway through 2021.

At the end of this mobile clinic run, nurse Susana Cares said, “It has been a very fruitful workday. We’ve met our goal of vaccinating 15 people and the patients were very happy, as am I.”

The mobile clinics will be operating through May 15th in the Region of Araucanía helping the home vaccination campaign. The main focus is on giving two doses to senior citizens following the vaccination program laid out by health authorities, which may lead to immunity after the second dose.