BUTTE — The vaccination clinic in Butte this week also included organizations concentrating on vaccinating Native Americans.
“A lot of our community get hit harder with it and it’s harder to recover from it, so it’s very important to get vaccinated,” said Carmen Morales of the Fort Belknap Indian Service Unit.
The Butte Native Wellness Center and the Indian Health Services combined to administer 200 vaccines at this week’s clinic for Native Americans and anyone else.
”We’ve done a lot of outreach, there’s a lot of good community support from elders to encourage people to get the vaccine,” said Shannon Parker with the Wellness Center.
Historically, there’s been distrust from the Native Americans with the federal government, so gaining that trust has been a challenge.
“They’re hearing stuff on the side whether to trust it or not, I’ve heard people say, ‘oh, I don’t want it because spay or neuter me,’ you know, stuff like that even, the same thing like the blankets, are they trying to help us,” said Leiloni Hugs with the Fort Belknap group.
One way to convince those in the Native American community -- and everybody else -- is that the sooner people get vaccinated, the sooner this pandemic can be behind us and people can be together.
“A lot of us live in multigenerational households and we like to gather and me, I’m like, 'if you get vaccinated then we can gather again' and it was really hard on everybody having to stay away,” said Hugs.
The Butte Health Department reports there are more slots open for Wednesday's clinic that is open to everyone 16 and up. To register, go to butteciviccenter.com.