AURORA, Colo. -- It is probably the busiest the Smoky Hill High School parking lot has been in a while, but Saturday the traffic wasn't for school.
“We are running a mass vaccination event for our 70-plus community,” said Allison Drayer, director of Community Care STRIDE Health Center.
More than 500 people 70 and older came to get their COVID-19 vaccine, giving the Aurora high school's cafeteria a little more purpose.
“We didn't want the senior population to stand outside. We wanted a place for them to come recover properly, so they offered this space to us,” said Drayer.
For people like Becky and Tony Ponda, they're happy they could come back to school for a day.
“We're both compromised, so we we've been dying to get this,” said Becky.
“Relief. Relief knowing we have the vaccine or at least the first part. And I'm more protected than we were before,” added Tony.
It has not been as easy as many hoped to get this age group vaccinated, whether it's scheduling the appointments or shots in the arms. Something the Pondas are quite familiar with.
“We've been on every list you can think of. Whoever we could hear have tests we would try to go online. This was the easy one because it was simple online,” said Becky.
Plus they now know when they get their second dose.
“We come back in February for the second,” she said.
That's why STRIDE Community Health Center held the clinic at the high school, where they can take the day to get a number of people taken care of at once.
“There is such a need for this population. At one point, we had thousands of people on our wait list,” said Drayer.
It's something the Pondas are thankful they could finally get done.
“It's a big relief to get it. We just want the world to get back on it's feet again and live a normal life for everyone,” said Becky.
Those who were able to get vaccinated Saturday also had a second dose appointment set up in a few weeks at the same location.