BUTTE — Health officials in Butte are finding it hard to encourage more people to get vaccinated as cases of COVID-19 continue to climb in the county.
“In the beginning of summer, we were vaccinating maybe 25 to 30 a week. It was not a good number, we were really struggling and our pop-ups giving two to three shots at a clinic,” said Diane Regan with the Butte Health Department.
Butte-Silver Bow has a vaccination rate of 60%, the second-highest in the state behind Missoula County. Butte reports there has been an uptick in vaccinations in August.
“Now with school starting again, the Delta variant that is spreading so fast, and it’s a vicious virus, I think has people thinking, ‘You know, it’s time to get our shots. We want our life back and I guess this is what we have to do'," said Regan.
Town Pump continues its vaccination sweepstakes, which is a weekly drawing in which two people can win $10,000 and three can win $5,000. They’ve already given away about $300,000 and will continue the weekly drawing until the end of September.
“We know that for our schools to be safe opening this year, for us to have full stands at Naranche Stadium on Friday night, that we need to have people vaccinated, so part of the goal of this was to get those numbers up,” said Bill McGladdery of Town Pump.
Health officials say it has been both physically and mentally exhausting for them to see a new spike in cases, especially after working so hard at the beginning of the year to get people vaccinated.
“It’s really hard, you know; a lot of us gave up a lot of our lives, worked a lot, did a lot. Just feeling like we’re getting to something, feeling so good, thinking we’re going to beat this, this is going to happen," Regan said.
"But with the second go-around it’s a little harder, but we’re still here, we’re going to keep going. It’s just a little bit raw,” Regan concluded.