BUTTE — Hundreds of senior citizens arrived at the Butte Civic Center on Wednesday to take the first shot that they hope will protect them against the coronavirus.
The large-scale vaccination event had a festive feel.
“I walked through the line of cars, you know when we were getting everybody going and everybody was excited. They were cheering and happy and it just made my day,” said the Butte Health Department’s Operations Manager Diane Regan.
The Butte Health Department, St. James Healthcare, and The Southwest Montana Community Health Center worked together to administer the shots to those 80 and older. Volunteers, including football players from Montana Tech, helped keep the event organized.
“To be a part of it, to be able to help out it really does feel amazing and it’s something I will look back on one day for sure,” said Montana Tech football player Brock Field.
Seniors had to call in to make an appointment for the event. The Butte Health Department admits they did not get back with many callers and will try to improve the sign-up process for the next round of vaccinations.
“We’re going to create an online registration form and a ticketing system possibly going forward, so we can better accommodate that. I do apologize, we do have people there clearing out those voicemails and calling people back, but it is a slow process and I do apologize,” said Regan.
It only seems appropriate that the seniors are taking their big shot on the civic center basketball court. And the mood here seems to be one of optimism as though this is the beginning of the end of this long pandemic.
“It is such a wonderful feeling to know that we’re getting to the end of the tunnel, and thank God for all the responders and those who have taken their time to take care of us,” said Leocadia Kolman, who was there to get her shot.
The next round of vaccinations will be for those 75 and older on Jan. 27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Butte Civic Center.