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

Younger Montanans Lag In COVID-19 Vaccinations

COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake for Eligible Montanans by Age Group - 04-27-21
Credit: Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake for Eligible Montanans by Age Group - 04-27-21

Montana state health officials say more Montanans aged 59 and younger need to roll up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine. State numbers show the younger the age demographic is, the worse the vaccination rate is.

Jim Murphy with the state health department says vaccination rates for Montanans 60 years and older are really good, sitting at 62% or higher.

He says vaccination campaigns across the state need to do a better job of getting younger populations in for their shots before the state can reach herd immunity levels.

“Especially those age groups between the ages of 20 and 50, that’s where it’s really challenging to get these folks to come in for vaccines, so we’re looking for ways to bring vaccines to them.”

Murphy says the state health department is helping counties identify large employers and is encouraging county health officials to bring vaccines to workers who can’t or don’t want to leave work.

According to state data, 46% of eligible Montanans have received at least one dose as of Tuesday. The vaccination rate among 20-somethings is just 28%, and vaccine rates get slightly better in each age bracket, reaching 44% for people in their 50s.

Murphy adds that some high school students haven’t had access to Pfizer vaccines, the only shot approved for people as young as 16. He says the state is working to bring shots to rural counties that don’t have the proper cold storage in order to boost the number of vaccinated minors.

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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