It was a typical January early morning on the UM campus as the cold Hellgate winds swept through the parking lot at the Adams Center for the mass COVID 19 immunization clinic that started at 7:00 a.m.

UM Security, the Missoula Fire Department and EMS teams were on duty outside the front entrance to guide the first vaccine recipients inside for orientation.

Public Information Officer Nick Holloway told KGVO News about the event.

“This is our first public mass vaccination clinic at the Adams Center,” said Holloway. “We're here before the clinic starts and we're looking at a registration table and some vaccination tables. We've got about 20 vaccinators here and we have people scheduled for vaccines to come in. Hopefully they come in prepared as we've been messaging all week, and hopefully nobody comes that doesn't have a scheduled vaccination, because we can't get people in without being on the schedule.”

Holloway repeated the procedure for those who had confirmed appointments.

“They need a copy of their insurance. If they have insurance,” he said. “If they don't have insurance, that's okay too. There's no out of pocket cost for anybody and they need the form that was emailed to them completed and filled out so that they can get rolling through the vaccination process.”

Echoing the words of Governor Greg Gianforte, Holloway reaffirmed the fact that more doses are needed for all of Montana.

“We only have 400 doses,” he said. “If everything goes smoothly for them, they'll walk in five minutes before their scheduled vaccination time, check in at the registration table, and get the vaccination, which really won’t take much time. Hopefully they're wearing loose clothing. Then they'll sit and wait for 15 minutes to make sure they don't have an adverse reaction to the vaccine.”

There were questions about the early morning hour of the clinic.

“We have to do it in the morning because there's a Griz game this afternoon, so we have to work around that,” he said. “The scheduling process has been not so easy. The people that are scheduling online definitely have a bit of an advantage over those who use the phone. We're trying to figure out ways to make sure the folks that don't have an online presence can get scheduled more easily, so that's another challenge, and there are just not enough vaccines. We only have 400 doses, so obviously we can't take folks that aren't scheduled.”

KGVO also spoke with Brennan, one of the UM Pharmacy School student volunteers who gave the vaccinations.

“I'm in my second professional year in the pharmacy program,” said Brennan. “I've lived in Montana my whole life pretty much born and raised around the Missoula area. I have two more years to go in pharmacy and I'm also working towards a business degree.”

Brennan said he and his team of pharmacy students were excited to be a part of the vaccination clinic, as it gives them valuable experience in working with the public.

“It's going to be a big vaccine clinic, but that’s good because we have a lot of really, really good students in the pharmacy program,” he said. “Everybody knows what they're doing and we're going get a ton of people in here and vaccinated and it will be super simple. We're just going to make sure you're seated and relaxed, give you a swab just to make sure you're all clean. Then the vaccination will probably be the simplest part; you just fill out the paperwork and then you'll pretty much be in and out, give you a band aid and after the fifteen minute mandatory observation period, then you're on your way.”

One of the first vaccinations was given to a man wheeled into the Adams Center in a hospital bed by family members.

Holloway said there will be many more mass vaccination clinics as the weeks and months go by, and as the state receives more doses from the federal government.

The mass vaccination clinic was scheduled to end at 11:00 a.m.

 

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