Lt. Governor Howie Morales helped answering participants’ questions and directing them through the vaccination process at the Socorro Sports Complex on April 7.
John Larson/El Defensor Chieftain photo


Was that New Mexico’s Lieutenant Governor directing traffic at the City of Socorro Rodeo and Sports Complex last week?
Actually, yes.
Over 700 COVID-19 booster vaccines were made available for seniors through the efforts of Tara Jaramillo and Positive Outcomes, and Lt. Governor Howie Morales and state Senator Siah Correa Hemphill were on hand to show their support.
The additional 723 doses of the vaccine were administered on April 7.
As Morales helped guide drivers into one of the two lanes of vaccination stations, Correa Hemphill visited with volunteers and seniors coming through.
“Healthcare is really important to me because I’ve got a son who was born with a rare genetic syndrome with auto-immune issues,” Correa Hemphill said. “So, I wanted to come and offer my support in whatever way to bring awareness to this organized effort to get more people vaccinated. It’s so important in keeping our community safe.”
She commended Tara Jaramillo for offering Positive Outcomes resources in acquiring the extra doses.
“Tara’s just been an incredible resource here in Socorro. She’s done so much for this community,” Correa Hemphill said. “Whatever I can do to support her in her efforts is a priority with me.”

Tara Jaramillo discusses Positive Outcomes’ contract with the state’s Aging and Long Term Services Department with Senator Siah Correa Hemphill and firefighter Mario Amaro.
John Larson/El Defensor Chieftain photo

Jaramillo headed the team from Positive Outcomes, which facilitated the supply of vaccines through the Department of Health’s Aging and Long Term Services Department.
“Lt. Gov. Morales and Representative Harry Garcia helped us pull this together,” Jaramillo said. “Most of these people today are those that did not know how to access the DOH website or did not have wi-fi capabilities. Our task was to go out and find people and sign them up.”
Positive Outcomes, which has a contract with the Aging and Long Term Services Department. was then given access to the portal to be able to do that.
“We signed everybody up,” she said. “This is a little different than the regular one through the Department of Health because today we’re partnering with Albertson’s. Albertson’s brings in the pharmacists that control the vaccinations.”
Jaramillo also commended the Socorro EMTs who administer the regular Thursday clinics at the Sports Complex for their help.
“With their help we can get through as many as possible,” she said. “Today’s event is 723 people who will be vaccinated who may not have had access otherwise. My dad (Frank Jaramillo) was president of Positive Outcomes, and so after he got his vaccine he was so excited to be able to get out and have dinner and those things. He was very excited about this clinic coming in for those people who may not have access to be able to do that. Through this we want to honor him, and what he believed needed to happen.”
Morales said he felt honored to be able to volunteer.
“Being here is about being engaged with people,” he said. “And today gives us that wonderful opportunity. Not only to be engaged but to actually get in there to volunteer and help out wherever.”
Morales stressed that although the pandemic is still with us “lives are being saved by getting the vaccine. Making sure they can protect themselves and protect the family members. It couldn’t be done without all these volunteers. And here they are giving of their time to serve others.”
He said his visit to Socorro was partly personal for him.

Volunteers provided COVID-19 vaccinations to area senior citizens using three lanes at the clinic on April 7 at the Socorro Sports Complex.
John Larson/El Defensor Chieftain

“As this is my former senate district it’s wonderful to be here once again,” he said. “Coming out of the 60-day legislative session we’ve been pretty much tied to Santa Fe, so this is actually my first meeting outside of Santa Fe since we got out of the session. I wanted to come and support the community’s effort along with Tara Jaramillo and the staff of Positive Outcomes and all the work they do for seniors through the Aging and Long Term Services Department. And then especially with this being in the honor of Tara’s father, Mr. Jaramillo, and the impact he had on the community. This is highlighted by what the family and the employees are doing today.”
The New Mexico Department of Health on Friday announced that one-third of New Mexicans 16 years and older are now fully vaccinated and more than 50 percent have received at least a first shot.