Montana Public Radio

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

Moderna COVID vaccine in a small bottle
iStock

About 96% of Montanans who received their first COVID-19 vaccine are showing up for their second dose, according to the state health department. That’s slightly better than the national rate recently reported by federal health officials.

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

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.

Adam Meier
courtesy

The Montana Senate Thursday confirmed Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte’s nominee to lead the state health department.

Adam Meier will be the next director of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. DPHHS is the state’s largest agency, nearly half of the state’s general fund goes toward paying for it and its programs. 

Montana Capitol bulding in Helena, MT.
Shaylee Rager / UM Legislative News Service

Montana lawmakers advanced a preliminary state budget last week that outlines $12 billion in spending over the next two years. It's expected to land on the House floor for debate in the coming days.

If nothing changes, the state will spend about $400 million more in the next biennium than it did over the last two years. That’s a 3.4% increase, according to the Legislative Fiscal Division. But the budget has only cleared one hurdle of many before it becomes law.

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

Montana lawmakers are considering bills to expand who is eligible for vaccine-mandate exemptions in workplaces and schools.

An updated count of vaccine uptake in Montana's vulnerable settings shows about 70% of residents in long-term care and assisted-living facilities have opted to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Older Montanans have been especially hard-hit by the virus.

State health officials are dropping lawsuits against five Flathead County businesses. Under former Gov. Steve Bullock the state alleged the bars, restaurants and convenience stores flouted state COVID-19 directives. The reversal comes at the direction of Gov. Greg Gianforte.

A Teton County Public Health nurse gives EMS worker Sherwin Smith his COVID-19 vaccine in Choteau on Jan. 8, 2021.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

COVID-19 vaccination efforts in counties across the state are shifting from health care workers to  community members. Limited supply has been a problem, but some counties say it's the unpredictability of that supply that’s the real barrier to carrying out plans to vaccinate the public.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte Monday said directors nominated to lead 12 state agencies will receive an average salary increase of 20 percent over their predecessors. Funding for the pay increases will come from their respective departments.

“Montana’s pay for agency directors has been among the worst in our region and country," Gianforte said in a press release. "We’re looking for folks who can make our state agencies more responsive to the people they serve and more responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars."

Adam Meier, Montana's newly-appointed DPHHS director (Jan. 2021)
State of Montana Newsroom

Republican Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte announced on Wednesday his pick for state health department director.

Gianforte tapped Adam Meier to lead the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, which manages Child Protective Services, the state Medicaid program and various other programs for low-income Montanans.

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