All Montanans age 16 and up will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting April 1 as the state steps into Phase 2 of its vaccine distribution plan.
Gov. Greg Gianforte says he plans to receive his first dose tomorrow Thursday in Lewis and Clark County.
"I do know that as we’ve been administering these vaccines, infections have gone down, hospitalizations have gone down. We have not seen any severe complications from these vaccines. And I look forward to getting, as the English say, my jab, tomorrow."
The vaccine is available by appointment through county public health departments (find contact info here) and some pharmacies. You can search for available appointments on vaccinefinder.org, from Montana's clinic finder, and you can find more information in our vaccination guide.
Gianforte says the state will receive more than 41,000 first doses this week. More doses are coming into the state through Indian Health Service, Veterans Affairs and the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
When asked, Gianforte and state officials did not say if there’s any specific goal to obtain herd immunity statewide. Roughly 18 percent of Montanans are fully immunized, according to state data.
In an effort to speed up the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines Gianforte Tuesday lifted restrictions on the number of staff members pharmacists can oversee.
Logan Tinsen is the chair of the Montana Pharmacy Association’s board of directors. Tinsen says a pharmacist can oversee four technicians at one time. He says Gianforte’s order will lift that restriction only for technicians working on either administering COVID vaccines or doing administrative work related to vaccines, like signing people up for appointments.
"So what this does is allow all hands-on deck to help ensure we can get more people in and moving through to get vaccines into arms," Tinsen says.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declined to say how many COVID-19 vaccines are flowing directly to Montana pharmacies through the federal retail pharmacy program. State health officials say they were made aware of nearly 11,500 vaccines that were shipped to the 144 pharmacies participating in the program this week.