Gratitude and relief for locals getting a second shot at vaccines in Marfa

Amelia Morales, an employee at Village Farms, got the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, after her original appointment was given away at a previous vaccine clinic. She thanked God as Don Culbertson administered the dose at Marfa Clinic. Photo by Maisie Crow

MARFA — Spirits were high at the Marfa Clinic on Friday, where patients were eager to get their first round of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and healthcare workers Don Culbertson, the owner of the clinic, and Kasey Hernandez speedily distributed 60 doses.

After a 500-person vaccine event last week left some appointment-holders unvaccinated, Marfa Clinic and Midland Memorial Hospital collaborated on an effort to bring additional shots for the 60 individuals whose reserved vaccines had been given away to others.

In the wake of the appointment issues, “Midland really responded beautifully,” Culbertson said. The hospital worked with Marfa Clinic to get the extra shots allocated from their shares, and even sent highway patrol to deliver them to Marfa through a bout of bad weather.

While many of those whose appointments weren’t fulfilled were angry at the time, Friday was full of cheer and relief. “¡Gracias a Dios!” Village Farms employee Amelia Morales exclaimed before receiving her vaccine.

“I am very, very grateful that they were able to bring the vaccine back,” said Maria Medrano, who brought herself and her mother Lorina Tejada, “because we missed it last time.”

“I feel better because of her age,” Medrano said, who was also glad to be a recipient because of the extra exposure to people that she gets in her job as a bus driver for Marfa schools.

Not everyone who was skipped over at the main event was able to make a return to Marfa on Friday though. A woman who had an appointment at the large event but lives two hours from Marfa wasn’t able to make the drive due to fog. Culbertson estimated another half dozen who were eligible declined and said they’d be seeking the shot elsewhere.

Photo by Maisie Crow
Ruben Vasquez shows his Saint Jude pendant to nurse Kasey Hernandez after getting his first shot against covid-19. Hernandez Google searched Saint Jude afterward, reading to the office that he symbolizes “having faith when all seems lost.”

Those doses, allocated to the previous appointment-holders but then freed up, were promptly scheduled to be given to other vaccine-eligible patients in the area. All 60 were spoken for on Friday, and Valerie Breuvart checked off the line of individuals as they arrived, received their shots and waited the designated 15 minutes to be monitored for any reaction to the dose.

“I think they’re really going to believe it when they get their second shot, and we don’t mess it up next time,” Culbertson said. All 560 individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine in Marfa are asked to return to the USO Building on March 2 for their second-round dose. “The people of our region are really happy to have something here in our own area,” Culbertson said. “It’s wonderful.”

Lionel Hernandez escorted his uncle Ruben Vasquez into the clinic, who gave a relieved sigh as the shot was administered. Around his neck was a pendant of Saint Jude, a symbol of having faith when all seems lost.