HAMILTON — Ravalli County will use an online registry to manage the expected crush of Bitterroot residents looking for a COVID vaccination in the coming weeks.
However, health department officials stress this isn't a "waiting list" for appointments, but a means to organize all the people wanting a coronavirus shot.
Ravalli County started to transition to Phase 1B vaccinations this week, which includes Bitterroot residents over 70, between 16 and 69 with underlying health issues, and people of color.
But with available vaccine still in short supply, the Health Department needed a system to organize the thousands of shots that will have to be given.
So, starting next week, Ravalli County officials tell us they will have a new online registry where people can express their interest in receiving a shot from public health.
"Any of our residents can sign up for what we'll call the 'intent to vaccinated at public health'. So this is going to be a registry for us. And this is how we're going to book those appointments," Ravalli County Health Department director Tiffany Webber said.
"So people won't call us for appointments. They'll apply for the registry online through our website. And then we will pull from that registry and book people as we get vaccine," Webber added.
Webber says the registry will allow the Health Department to not only plan the use of the available vaccine but create a database to measure the pace of the vaccination program.
That site will go live next week and can be found at the Ravalli County website. We'll also have links as they become available.
Ravalli County residents will also have the option of getting their shots at any one of 12 additional locations around the Bitterroot Valley that have signed up to provide vaccine as it becomes available.