MISSOULA — It’s news many have waited for since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three Western Montana medical centers are preparing to receive the first rounds of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The first doses go to health care workers.
We spoke with Community Medical Center (CMC) on Monday and the facility is ready for the shipment.
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) and Gov. Steve Bullock’s office announced that CMC, and Providence Saint Patrick in Missoula -- as well as Kalispell Regional Medical Center -- will be among the first health care centers to get the medicine as early as Dec. 15.
This first round goes to vaccinate health care workers at hospitals and after nine months of a pandemic, it's welcome news.
“It's nice to finally be able to have light at the end of the tunnel. And we've been working very hard planning for the arrival of the vaccine so we can rapidly vaccinate our personnel once we receive it -- as quickly as possible,” CMC Medical Specialist for the COVID Task Force Dr. Nicole Finke said.
“It is a relief because it is the beginning. if we can keep the caregivers working and taking care of the patients as they get sick. There are a lot of caregivers and they certainly go out in go in public and certainly have a lot of exposure. So that is the beginning of being able to turn the corner of controlling the virus and the way it's affecting our society today,” Dr. Finke added.
Dr. Finke says even those who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine when it's available. The vaccine itself will not cause COVID-19.