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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Over 1,700 Vaccine Appointments Available In Yellowstone County

A gloved hand swabs a person's arm, prepping it for a shot.

More than 1,700 COVID vaccine appointments in Yellowstone County remain open this week. County health officials say the demand for COVID-19 vaccines is falling.

Riverstone Health CEO and Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton says the county received permission to open vaccines to everyone 16 and older a week ahead of the state, but since then the county has struggled to fill all of its appointments.

Felton thinks part of the reason demand has fallen is because case counts are down in Montana, but he also says there are populations that are vaccine-hesitant.

"I think one of the groups that we're concerned about, in addition to those that are politically vaccine-resistant, are our younger population."

Felton says those 20 to 39 years old account for about 40 percent of Yellowstone County’s active COVID cases.

Felton is concerned that Montana could follow other states currently seeing a surge in COVID cases. He says it’s increasingly important that county residents get vaccinated. Currently, a little over 19 percent Yellowstone County’s population is fully immunized. Felton says Riverstone's goal is to vaccinate 75 percent of county residents.

Felton says Riverstone is focusing its messaging about the safe and effective COVID vaccines on social media, in local media outlets and is reaching out to churches and businesses to help spread the word.

County residents can book their vaccine appointment at or by calling 406-651-6596.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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