HAMILTON — Ravalli County hosted its first large vaccination event at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital in Hamilton on Saturday.
Thus far, distributors in the area only received small shipments of vaccines, so clinics were relatively small at about 50 to 100 people.
But this time, it’s different.
"It's a lot of excitement, we have so many people that are traveled from all parts of the valley to get their vaccines, people that haven't been out of the house more than once or twice in the last year. And finally having some semblance of protection and immunity moving forward," Correy Shanahan, clinic volunteer RN, said.
Volunteers came out in frigid temperatures at about 6:30 in the morning to help those over 70 in the county receive their vaccine.
Residents showed up, signed their consent, were quickly screened by medical staff, then were given their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. They were then monitored to ensure no adverse reactions occurred and were free to go home.
Each individual will have to return in three weeks to finish off the vaccination process.
The response was overwhelmingly positive.
"It is the first time I've seen so many just smiling eyes. Of course you can't see people's faces still, but happiness and joy coming around something," Shanahan said.
Many vaccinated residents told MTN News they were impressed with the professionalism of the medical staff on site.
Ravalli County residents Margaret and Don Mullan described their experience with the process.
"It was exciting to get a phone call and says, Hey, you're scheduled for 12 o'clock on Saturday," Don Mullan said.
The Mullans told MTN News the process was quick and easy.
"It's really been a wonderful experience," Margaret Mullan said.
With this mass clinic, nearly 1,000 Ravalli County residents over 70-years-old were able to receive the vaccine.
Health officials tell us they believe the high population of retirees living in Ravalli County contributed to the large number of vaccines given out today.