COVID vaccine update for Montana

PA Tim Street received COVID vaccine from nurse Karen Slotness at Great Falls Clinic
Posted at 12:19 PM, Dec 18, 2020

GREAT FALLS — Gov. Steve Bullock has announced that the second-week round of allocations of COVID-19 vaccines will be designated for healthcare workers at rural hospitals, and staff and residents of long-term care facilities.

The governor also said on Friday that the state’s anticipated allocation of vaccine doses through the end of the year has been reduced by the federal government by 20% -- from 60,000 down to 48,000; along with other states across the nation.

“It’s disappointing news that our anticipated allocations of the vaccine have been reduced, but our priorities remain the same to protect those most vulnerable to severe disease or death from the virus and those who have been serving on the frontlines," Gov. Bullock said in a news release. "We are best utilizing the resources available to further reduce the strain on our hospitals and to save lives.”

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) allocated next week’s shipment of 6,825 Pfizer doses to what will be the first of ongoing allocations to long-term care facilities -- which includes nearly 300 nursing homes and assisted living facilities. That is a reduction from 10,725 previously anticipated doses.

The federal government is contracting with CVS, Walgreens, and Big Sky Managed Care Pharmacy to offer on-site COVID-19 vaccination services for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The doses will be provided directly to the participating pharmacies to administer.

Additionally, the state is expected to receive 18,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week. This is the same as previously anticipated, but the number will likely be reduced in coming weeks.

The Moderna vaccine includes 100 doses per box and does not require ultra-cold storage, making it more easily delivered to rural settings or small facilities.

The Moderna vaccines will be shipped to Critical Access Hospitals and Community Health Centers for health care workers on the frontlines of the pandemic. The list of facilities where the vaccine will be sent will be finalized next week.

DPHHS says the vaccine will not be mandatory, and that everyone who wants to get it will be able to eventually. Click here for details.

As of Friday, the vaccine has been administered to more than 3,000 Montana healthcare workers since the vaccine first became available earlier this week to 10 Montana hospitals. The remaining doses will be administered in the coming days.