NEWPORT, Tenn. — As dark clouds rolled in over Newport, sleeves were rolling up.
"It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be," Rhonda Parks said after getting her second shot. "I'm [looking forward to] being free of this COVID and being able to go mask-free one day."
Parks was one of more than 600 people who attended the vaccine clinic on Saturday hosted by Broadway and Main Pharmacy in Cocke County.
"[That turnout] is really good for a small rural town such as Cocke County," said Jarrod Vick, a pharmacist at Broadway and Main. "I love seeing the look on people's faces when they just get a sense of relief."
Vick said it took a diverse group of medical professionals to host Saturday's event. That included Dr. Candi Overholt, an internal medicine physician in Cocke County.
"In clinic, we're always trying to convince people, 'do you want the shot? Do you not?' It's more of an educational back and forth," she said. "Here, everybody is encouraged and wanting to get it so it's really a lot of fun."
In Tennessee, health leaders have expressed concerns about vaccine hesitancy, especially in more rural areas. That's why Dr. Overholt makes sure her patients are informed about the impact vaccines can have.
"They are very safe. They're effective," she said. "I always remind patients if you look back, we don't have smallpox here today because our parents lined up at schools and they got vaccinations."
In 28 days, Broadway and Main Pharmacy will host a similar event for everyone to get their second dose of the Moderna vaccine. They hope to offer more of these events in the future if supply and scheduling allow.