University of New Mexico Health reached a major milestone in its fight to vaccinate the New Mexico community by administering its 100,000th vaccine dose at The Pit on April 28.
The basketball arena has been host to a mass vaccination site since January, with over 100 volunteers at work each day.
The recipient of the 100,000th vaccine was a recent UNM graduate, Kiara Herzer, who received her second dose of the vaccine.
“I am very surprised and honored as well, it’s just exciting ... I’m so excited by how many people have gotten their shots, so that’s awesome we are at 100,000 so far,” Herzer said.
Karen Ellingboe, who oversees the vaccine operation at The Pit, reflected on the milestone and the work being done at the site.
“It has been one of the most promising and gratifying things I’ve ever done in my nursing career. And it has changed from week to week,” Ellingboe said. “Initially we had a resorted population that was given the vaccine. People were very excited and very fearful to get the vaccine. Our spots were incredibly valuable and were taken up very quickly.”
New Mexico has been a leader in vaccine distribution across the nation as over half of New Mexicans have received their first dose and 43% of New Mexicans are fully vaccinated, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.
According to Ellingboe, there is now an excess amount of vaccines.
“Unfortunately, because we've done such a fabulous job as a state, we have more vaccines supplied then we know what to do with,” Ellingboe said. “It’s very easy to get a vaccine now. I encourage everyone who has not received a vaccine to sign up.”
Nick Romero is a staff photographer and freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @nicromerophoto