The ‘Fabulous Ladies’ who vaccinated thousands of people

  • New Mexico needed help administering vaccines, and members of a book club volunteered for the mission

  • The vaccination campaign has accelerated since Biden’s rise to power, which has centralized the government response

When Gillian Baudo founded a small book club in the village of New Mexico where she lives, she only wanted to make friends with interests similar to her own to get rid of the loneliness she felt at the time. He named him the Fabulous Ladies Reading Club back in 2013 and they premiered with The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver’s novel that addresses the dilemmas of motherhood and the elusive sense of belonging. For years, the club’s dozen or so readers, all professionals and in their forties, met once a month at a local restaurant to discuss literature and life. Until the pandemic and a phone call that would alter their anonymous lives to place them at the center of the national conversation about coronavirus vaccination.

The call came from the New Mexico Department of Health in the middle of Christmas last year. The state had vaccines against Covid-19, but did not have enough hands to administer them in Ruidoso, the small tourist town of 8,000 inhabitants where Baudo lives. Precisely, the same problem that marked the first bars of the vaccination campaign in the United States, weighed down by the lack of planning Trump administration and the absence of a national plan to face the Herculean challenge. “Everything happened very fast. They asked us for help on December 28 and on January 3 we were already administering the first vaccines, ”Baudo says on the other end of the phone. About 300 the first day.

The Fabulous Ladies transformed the medical spa of Dr. Stephen Rath, the husband of one of the club members and the person who received the call from the Department of Health, in a vaccination clinic. To administer the injections, they recruited the club’s nurses, pharmacist and doctor, while the rest of the members did administrative tasks, registered patients, launched awareness campaigns on Facebook or he combed the town schools to encourage teachers to get vaccinated. Up to 50 hours of volunteer work a week, which served to vaccinate 2,400 people before the end of the month, a third of the population of Ruidoso.

High incidence of the virus

“This town has had some very high contagion rates from the beginning, in part, because we get a lot of tourism from Texas and visitors rarely wear a mask or they maintain social distance, ”says this 46-year-old yoga teacher, a mother of two. “So when we were given the opportunity to get vaccinated, almost the entire town supported the project. The people are very grateful and relieved for having been able to regain some normality. Some they danced or cried after receiving the vaccine ”, adds Baudo.

Ruidoso may feel lucky because he has managed to vaccinate a percentage much higher than the country’s average, where only one 13% of the population have received the first dose and 6% both, according to Bloomberg data. But the frustration of the first month begins to give way to optimism as Biden centralizes campaign management and the initial objectives of his Administration are exceeded, which proposed to administer one million daily vaccines. Last week they were around 1.7 million daily doses. Among other things, because the supply has started to reach pharmacies and large vaccination centers have been set up in stadiums and mobile clinics.

140 million doses in five weeks

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So much Pfizer What Modern They seem to have also overcome the initial manufacturing problems and this Tuesday they affirmed in Congress that in the next five weeks they will distribute 140 million doses additional. “Both the US and other countries need more vaccines quickly,” said Pfizer’s chief operating officer, John Young, during the hearing in the Capitol. Las Señoras Fabulosas, meanwhile, have managed to put Ruidoso on the map and set themselves up as a role model for other communities in the country, where thousands of anonymous people, from parish priests to neighborhood activists, have assumed the mission of raising awareness among their neighbors about the importance of getting vaccinated.

Newspapers like the ‘Washington Post’ or televisions like ‘BBC’ have covered his story, publicized by personalities such as Michelle Obama. The autobiography of the former first lady was the last book they discussed before the pandemic forced them to hold their monthly meetings virtually. “It’s amazing to think that Michelle knows we exist. If we have been able to help, anyone can. This is a collective effort”Says Baudo, the founder of the reading club.

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