Missoula County officials provide COVID-19 vaccination update

Posted at 9:10 AM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 11:38:41-05

MISSOULA — Missoula County began signups on Wednesday for its two public vaccination clinics -- one at the University of Montana and one at the former Lucky’s Market. But within hours, every available spot at the clinics had been reserved.

A nationwide shortage of the coronavirus vaccine makes it nearly impossible to know how long it will take to vaccinate all of Missoula County.

“It’s such a fluid, dynamic situation that it’s hard to put a pinpoint, time, or date on it,” Missoula County COVID-19 Vaccine Coordination Team Public Information Officer Nick Holloway noted.

Missoula County is transitioning from Phase 1A to 1B of the state COVID-19 vaccine plan this week, taking a huge step in the effort to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We hope to be fully in phase 1B by the first of February, which is coming up pretty quick,” Holloway said. Phase 1B encompasses an estimated 40,000 individuals in Missoula County.

The county has been notified by state public health officials that it will receive approximately 1,500 doses of the vaccine each week for the foreseeable future.

“1,500 is what we have for the near-term foreseeable future, but of course we're hoping -- as is everybody in the nation -- that they're going to get more and production will ramp up and new vaccines will come online giving us more availability to vaccinate,” Holloway told MTN News.

With a lot of people to vaccinate -- and a limited number of doses -- not everyone in Phase 1B can get in line right away. Holloway says that right now, the focus is on those deemed the most vulnerable.

“That is folks 70 and over, and American Indians and people of color, ages 16 and over,” Holloway explained.

Missoula County has 26 providers registered to administer vaccines and when feasible the county will offer public vaccination clinics.

Vaccine providers have hurried to get to this point but now they have to wait.

“Vaccine availability will dictate how often we can do the clinics,” Holloway said. “And as long as we have vaccines available, we will make it available to the public in one way or another.”

Click here for additional information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and your place in line. Residents can also call (406) 258-INFO to learn more about what vaccine options are available in Missoula County.