Mass vaccinations

Frontline workers attend vaccination clinic as appointments for general public are set to open
By 
Sam Klomhaus — Enterprise Staff Writer
Thursday, April 1, 2021
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Enterprise photos by Sam Klomhaus 

The newly-vaccinated wait in the Park County Fairgrounds building to make sure there aren’t any complications from the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday.

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Registered Nurse Mary Hesse administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Tina Palmiter Thursday at the Park County Fairgrounds.

When her name came up, Tina Palmiter let out a joyous yell and ran to the first available vaccination station.

Palmiter, one of about 570 frontline essential workers receiving their first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Thursday at the Park County Fairgrounds, said she has a grandson with muscular dystrophy.

“I’m doing this for him and my family,” Palmiter said.

She remained in good spirits after Registered Nurse Mary Hesse administered the vaccination.

“It was great!” she said. “I’ve been waiting for this for months!”

Palmiter got up from her chair and moved toward the waiting area to schedule her second dose and wait the required 15 minutes after the shot to make sure there aren’t any complications.

“Woo hoo!”

The six vaccine providers in Park County  — the Health Department, Livingston HealthCare, the Medcor clinic at Mammoth, Western Drug, Community Health Partners and Osco Pharmacy at Albertsons — pooled their resources to hold Thursday’s frontline essential worker clinic. 

On Thursday, all Montanans 16 and up became eligible for the vaccine.

Appointments for the general public in Park County will open Friday.

Whether Park County will continue to do mass vaccination clinics or go back to distributing vaccines among individual providers depends on how much vaccine is delivered to the county, Health Department Director Alex Baukus said.

The vaccination clinic was benefited by the recent upgrading of the ventilation system at the fairgrounds, which Health Department officials said were completed just in time for the event.

Although nearly 600 people were expected at the clinic, which was by appointment only, Park County Health Officer Dr. Laurel Desnick said they were spaced out well, and there wasn’t any crowding.

“We’ve already done like 200 doses and it feels like there’s nothing going on,” Desnick said around mid-morning.

Baukus remarked everything at the clinic was going smoothly, and everyone there was in good spirits.

“It’s all good news,” Baukus said.