BILLINGS — It’s a numbers game across Billings parks this summer. Not only is the Reading Rocks program back in full swing, but right next door, RiverStone Health is offering COVID vaccine clinics, with specific emphasis on kids 12 and older.
“It was really easy. I got up five minutes before we got here, and then did it," said Chloe Hasbrouck at the clinic.
The 14-year-old got her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Pioneer Park Tuesday, but it wasn't a decision she took lightly.
“I still do have hesitation," she said. "My parents are worried about it too since it’s new, but since I have a lot of older people in my family, I felt it was a good idea to get the vaccination.”
Liv Wilson received her second Pfizer dose Tuesday, one of the last in her group of friends to be fully vaccinated. The 15-year-old said none of them had a second thought about it.
“Not really. It was something we all wanted to do to help our families.”
That’s been a common theme at the first two clinics this week, but it’s not just kids showing up.
“What I’ve noticed is a lot of people just walking by will stop and say, ‘Oh you’re giving shots?'" said RiverStone Health nurse Chantel Dupre. "So being out here in public offers (vaccine to) people who don’t have access to internet. We just had a guy who, the only time he can get online is at the library, and so him just riding by, he was able to take that opportunity, which he wouldn’t have gotten.”
The Reading Rocks partnership - not to mention Sodexo’s hot lunch program on site - has created an event that organizers hope will boost each program.
“I hope so. I think that definitely helps. There’s more reason to come," said Reading Rocks coordinator Madi Gilsdorf. "The pool opened up today which is great - that’s more reason for people to come.”
The free clinics run from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. and offer both the Pfizer vaccine for anyone 12 and older and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for those 18 and older. They will be at Castlerock Park Wednesday and Central Park on Thursday.