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Green River Residents Gladly Line Up For Vaccine Closer To Home

GREEN RIVER, Utah – For residents in small, rural Utah towns like Green River, getting something that’s not available in town would mean a long drive.

People KSL TV spoke with who wanted the COVID-19 vaccine said were prepared to make the one-hour drive to the clinic – north or south – until they learned they wouldn’t have to.

Life moves slower in rural Utah, they said. It’s part of the appeal of living away from the big city.

Resident Kathy Ryan admitted, sometimes it can be difficult when you need something and live in Green River.

“This is home, but it yes, it can be a lot of driving,” said Ryan.

That’s why she was planning on filling her gas tank to get a COVID vaccine.  Going to bigger towns means that long drive. One way.

“I would have to go to Price or over to Castle Dale, Emery County if they were doing it there – or Moab or Grand Junction, or wherever,” she said.

When Ryan found out her local medical center had the vaccine, she couldn’t believe it.

“That’s so awesome,” she said with a smile. 

Around lunch time Monday, the small medical center building off Main Street just might have been the most popular spot in town.

“We couldn’t get them here if this clinic wasn’t here,” said Mickey Hampton, who was the first to arrive at the clinic more than 30 minutes before the shots were given. 

Between noon and 1 p.m., people started lining up in their cars along the side of the building.

“It’s just freedom to go back to life like normal,” said one man, who was at the clinic with his wife to get vaccinations.

Working with Utah’s Department of Health, the Green River Medical Center became a federally-qualified health center for the vaccine. 

The goal was to make it easier for residents to get vaccinated without expecting them to drive at least a couple of hours roundtrip for their shots.

“We’re one of the smallest community health centers in the state of Utah,” said clinic director Paula Dunham. “It’s exciting to be able to provide this vaccine for our residents.”

Dunham said she feels being a community health center means doing whatever you can to make sure residents have access to good health care.

That includes trying to help them get the vaccine without having to travel far away from home.

“For our senior population who seldom like to travel out of town, that made it even more difficult for them to get the vaccine,” said Dunham.

People stayed in their cars to get the shot. They even got smiley face bandages to go with their own smiley faces.

“This means road to recovery, right? For the whole U.S., I hope,” said Ryan.

For people who live in Green River, getting the shot at their local clinic also means the road back home is shorter.

It’s something many here just aren’t used to.

“Being from Green River, we’re not used to easy,” said Jim Chandler with a laugh.

KSL 5 TV Live

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