RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – Our state boasts that we have the most efficient vaccine distribution in the country, but people said their experience at one vaccine clinic in Rio Rancho Wednesday was anything but. The event was meant for people with appointments who are registered in the DOH portal and currently eligible. However, many showed up hoping there was some leftover vaccine which caused frustration and chaos.

It was one big mess. “It is crazy,” one person in line said. “It is just nuts. You don’t see stuff like this.”

Hundreds of cars waited their turn. Some said they spent more than four hours in line even though they had an appointment. “We have been sitting here forever,” Linda Archuleta said. “There are no porta-potties.”

People said the event was unorganized. “It went from waiting in two lanes, then four lanes and then, they made it eight lanes,” Renee Heard said. “I have been here for two hours and twenty minutes at a standstill waiting to get it. Nobody has told us what is going on.”

Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull said to date, it is the largest vaccination clinic that’s been held in the city. 5,500 people received doses at the event hosted by Walgreens. “Don’t schedule so many people at one time,” Joyce Lucero said. “This needs to be operating smoothly in and out.”

However, Hull said a lot of people showed up without an appointment. “I think a lot of people showed up just thinking it was a come one, come all,” Hull said. “It was my understanding that we had a lot of people who showed up who just weren’t registered or hadn’t been notified to come.”

People working the event told KRQE News 13 that they try to check in with people throughout the line to catch people early on who don’t have an appointment to turn them away. They said even some people who showed up with appointments came at the wrong time which also led to backups. “They said that they may come to the vehicle to get her vaccination… My mom is 83 years old,” Lucero said. “This is not good for the elderly,” Archuleta added.

Hull said while it isn’t a city event, his staff is going to evaluate what happened Wednesday to make sure clinics in Rio Rancho are smoother moving forward. “I think a point well taken might be the portable bathrooms and making things a little more fluid out here as far as the flows of traffic.”

People said the only bright spot is that they’re now vaccinated. “We are just trying to be patient with what we are dealing with because it is hard on everybody,” Archuleta said.

KRQE News 13 reached out to DOH and asked if it is acceptable for clinics in our state to be this backed up and why we didn’t see social-distancing being enforced in the lines people were standing in outside. DOH said lines should not last that long, and social-distancing should be occurring. However, DOH reemphasized that this event was hosted by Walgreens. KRQE News 13 reached out to Walgreens media relations for a comment but did not hear back.