Although all of his workmakes are already vaccinated, Víctor Campos, a resident of Nacimiento, waited until the last minute to join them. “I’m stubborn!” he said while recalling when he missed his chance to get innoculated with his colleagues. However, after his dad got coronavirus, he decided to get his first dose. “I’ve realized that the injection serves a purpose since my dad got the coronavirus. And how did he get over the illness? It was the two vaccines because he has heart and respiratory problems.
Campos stated that he agreed to get vaccinated because of his family. He has small children and wants to protect them. He was innoculated in one of the two facilities that CMPC provided to the Health Services of Biobío, converting them into Covid, influenza and school vaccination centers. The company signed an agreement with the Municipalities of Nacimiento and Los Ángeles to set up the CMPC Santa Fe plant gymnasium an the former Forestal Mininco offices, respectively.
Although the agreement initially lasted for three months, given the campaign’s success it was decided that both locations continue operating as vaccine centers indefinitely. The goal of extending the agreement is to reach the greatest number of people innoculated possible in both districts, especially focusing on people who are behind schedule.
To achieve this goal, Felipe Alveal, CMPC Assistant Corporate Affairs Manager said, “We are renewing this commitment for an indefinite period. This means we will provide this space until the vaccination targets of the authorities at the local level are met.”
Like Víctor Campos, other people missed the opportunity to get vaccinated when they could in accordance with the vaccination schedule. Claudia Aillón, head of the Nacimiento municipal health department explained that although 67.7% (14,337 people) of the target population in the district has been vaccinated with both doses. There are younger age groups with lower vaccination rates including the 40- to 49-year-olds. The 20 somethings have even lower rates. Specifically, 41.8% of the 18- to 39-year-old group have received their two doses. This is in contrast with the 94.1% of people between 70 and 79 years of age who have been fully vaccinated. “The reason for this is mostly because we have been following the calendar. But those who are behind in general are mostly the younger groups,” said Aillón.
Lissette Sepúlveda, the nurse in charge of the vaccination center at the former CMPC Los Angeles offices, agreed that the 20-year-old age group was not vaccinated as much as the elderly. “We’re now doing the 20- to 29-year-olds. Few people have come in so far, but a lot of people did when it was time for those in their 30s.” In Los Angeles, 137,484 people have received the first dose and 109,594 have gotten both.
The health professionals are happy about the agreement’s extension. They believe that the spaces provided by CMPC have been very useful for carrying out their duties over the last three months. Lissette Sepúlveda said, “This is an excellent space because the stations are all set up with sinks outside of each one, public bathrooms and other restrooms for employees. It’s winter right now, but it is not too cold here because we have central heating.”
Raúl Fuentes, Los Angeles municipal administrator said, “Our main role has been to support vaccination. That is why we have opened several stores outside the CESFAM so that people can attend to the public.”
Alveal emphasized that, “CMPC is a company that not only offers essential products to communities, it goes further. In other words, we are tremendously committed to the needs of our communities, especially in terms of health. We know that, to get ahead of this pandemic we have to work together building alliances and networks, and interacting with our communities.”
The success of both vaccine centers regarding the number of people who have come in for vaccination is reflected in the fact that many who had been behind have come in for their first dose. This goes for Constanza Cárcamo, a resident of Nacimiento who said, “I’m on the first dose right now. I decided to get vaccinated because I think self-care and caring for others is important. This pandemic has taught us that.”
María José Salazar Salgado, a neighbor of the rural Chacayal Sur area of Los Angeles said, “I am up to date with my vaccinations. This is my second dose. I am getting vaccinated more than anything for prevention since I have elderly parents and children. At first I was afraid and questioned it, but I decided to do it for prevention.”
The extension of the vaccination centers is in addition to the previous assistance provided by CMPC to help limit the pandemic’s effects. Before it was a vaccination center last year, the company’s former Los Angeles offices were made available to the Biobío Health Service to serve as a field hospital for low- and medium-intensity patients, which helped decongest the hospitals in the region that were focusing on Covid care. The company together with Desafío Levantemos Chile financed the mobile clinic’s tour through the Biobío and La Araucanía Regions, taking vaccine doses to remote and inaccessible places.