What do you get when you cross basketball season, a snowstorm, a failed scheduling system, and a Governor’s vaccine mandate? 

Moderna March Madness. 

“Well, this doesn’t actually have anything to do with basketball,” said Cristine Currie as she guided arriving community members into two, weather-exposed lines, based on COVID vaccine appointments and walk-ins. 

“Walk in, get your shot, get rid of COVID,” she rattled off like a seasoned marketing professional and not the Director of Population Health Management at Northern Arizona Healthcare that she is.  Currie oversees the community vaccine clinic with Interim COVID Clinic Manager, Susan Huerta, and together they came up with the creative name of, “Moderna March Madness.” 

“It just seemed like a good March Madness kind of event,” she said, crediting Northern Arizona University and Coconino County for taking the idea and, “running with it – pun intended,” Currie said, adding that they added their own fun twits to the messaging.  

Even with all the snow, the county and NAU’s efforts were helping to drive long lines at the NAH COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic located at the Flagstaff Elks Lodge. At one point the line reached the road as wound through the entire parking lot. 

“We had 750 doses today and the Governor has mandated that we use 80% of those vaccines within seven days of receiving them,” Currie said, noting that it was a nation-wide appointment system that went down and not NAH. “We wanted to make sure that we were meeting the state’s guidelines so we opened it up to make sure that as many people as possible could get vaccinated today.” 

One of those people was CCC student, Naomi Adisa, who didn’t think she was going to be eligible for the vaccine for quite a while. She eagerly dropped everything and ran to the clinic when her friend texted her about the opportunity.  

“This feels really good,” Adisa said after getting the shot and was sitting in the observation area. “I’m looking forward to being able go to work without being so afraid of getting sick.” 

Currie said she expected this to be a one-day event and while she knew it wouldn’t be an easy day for those giving out vaccines, she was excited to see the turn-out. 

“This is a good kind of madness,” Currie said.