BILLINGS- As hundreds flocked to the Shrine Auditorium Thursday morning for a COVID-19 vaccine, something was different about this clinic from those before.
Participants were able to leave with $50 in cash, and children 12 to 15 were also allowed a vaccine.
“It's just one more reminder that this is finally going to be better,” said Billings Clinic Pediatrician Kathryn Lysinger.
She was among some of the first through the door Thursday to get a COVID shot for her 12-year-old son, Jacob.
It's something they as a family have been waiting for months to happen.
Like most families, hers was touched by the impacts of the virus with stints of quarantines, testing positive for the virus itself, and feeling the impacts of school and sporting activities on the kids.
“It’s just such a relief as a mom- not just as a pediatrician, as a mom- to have him protected,” she said.
With a consent form signed, a quick pinch in the arm, and a band-aid to go, Jacob quickly got his vaccine and his mom was given instructions on what to do next.
As a doctor, Lysinger says children can get very sick from COVID, and nearly 14,000 were hospitalized over the span of a year due to the virus.
“The adolescents are the ones that do tend to drive some of the spread, and they are more likely to spread,” she said.
So when the parents of her patient have questions, she tried to give them a straight answer to any concerns.
“And what I try to explain to families is that with vaccines, this vaccine went through the exact same process of all the vaccines,” she said.
In the Pfizer trial, the vaccine for 12-to-15-year-olds was 100 percent effective in preventing infection.
And as a mom, she takes comfort in that.
“It’s so exciting because we can finally let them be kids,” she said.