María Isabel Muñoz lives in La Mona, a rural area 18 kilometers from downtown Los Ángeles. Vaccinating her 95-year-old mom would mean she has to find a way to get her to the medical center and stand in line. Muñoz said this is very hard because her mom’s mobility is reduced and they don’t have a car. That’s why she took advantage of the mobile clinic when it was in her area to get the vaccines. “I was thinking about taking her to Los Ángeles, but it’s quite complicated to get her there and bring her home, so this option was great. I’m very thankful because they came here to vaccinate her,” she said.
Muñoz’s mom got one of the more than 3,600 vaccine doses administered between February and May this year from mobile clinics. Traveling along dirt roads and unmarked avenues in the rural areas of the Regions of Biobío and La Araucanía. The initiative was undertaken jointly by Desafío Levantemos Chile and CMPC. The organizations jointly made available a fully equipped vehicle ready with online registration for getting Covid-19 and influenza vaccines.
Teachers, senior citizens, children, handicapped individuals, those with chronic diseases or residents having a hard time getting around have all been helped over the three-month period of this campaign. Nurse Angélica Flores at Cesfam Nororiente in Los Ángeles explained, “People cannot access the vaccine at other centers on their own because of the distance, mobility problems and their current illnesses. So, this was a great opportunity for everyone and they’re very grateful.”
Valeria Marín a homemaker in the El Olivo area said that she is pleased with the initiative because she is unable to take her in-laws anywhere because they don’t have their own transportation. “This initiative is fantastic because at least for me it is extremely difficult to take them to distant clinics with all the line-standing and waiting that goes on. So for them to come here is a huge help,” she said.
The Desafío Levantemos Chile Coordinator for Los Ángeles Juan Antonio Rebolledo views the campaign as a huge success as the mobile units traversed more than 20,000 kilometers, a greater distance than that which separates Chile from China.
“We’ve realized that in many situations such as these there are bed-ridden people or those living in rural areas who usually find it very difficult to come in and get vaccinated,” said Rebolledo.
According to the respective Health Services, more than 1,751 people were immunized in Biobío and 1,588 people were immunized in La Araucanía. Seven neighborhoods were covered in each region for a total of 14 municipalities. Some of them were visted twice to include more people.
CMPC Corporate Affairs Manager for the Southern Region Augusto Robert said that this campaign is very important given that it specifically benefits people living in areas near the company and one of CMPC’s objectives is to connect to these rural neighbors.
“I also want to thank both the Health Services in Biobío and Malleco who have collaborated with us, supported us and enabled us to move forward with this effort, which is to achieve immunity within the country and of course reach the most disconnected rural areas in the process,” he said.
One of the mobile clinic drivers Luis Medina got the chance to see in person those who received this benefit. He said that it was all worth it because otherwise the neighbors in the province would have had to keep waiting for the vaccine.
“I’ve had the opportunity to witness many different living situations, some of which are quite harsh. It is very satisfying to be able to help out and bring the vaccine to very distant, remote areas to people who would not otherwise have had the chance to get vaccinated without the mobile clinic,” said Medina.
This year is the second time that mobile clinics set up by Desafío Levantemos Chile and CMPC took to the road. The organizations conducted the first mobile clinic run last year also in conjunction with the Health Services.