COVID-19 boosters soon to be offered in county

Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Beaverhead County residents looking to get a COVID-19 booster shot will soon be able to do so at the public health department.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved boosters for the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has set guidelines for who should get boosters and when. Boosters were previously approved for the Pfizer vaccine.

Public health officials posted on their Facebook page that they will begin offering boosters to interested residents on Nov. 5. Those who received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that are eligible six months after their second dose, and include people aged 65 and older; people aged 18 and older who live in long-term care settings; people aged 18 and over who have underlying medical conditions; and people aged 18 and older who work or live in high-risk settings.

Residents aged 18 and older who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine are eligible for boosters two months after the single-shot vaccine.

Those interested in getting a vaccine or booster are asked to call public health at 406-683- 3203 and leave a message. Public health offers vaccinations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays.

As of Tuesday, 56% of Beaverhead County residents have been vaccinated, which is higher than the state (55%) but lower than the national vaccination rate (57.4%).

The county racked up 46 new cases in the past week. As of Tuesday, Beaverhead County had 36 active cases and 1,452 total cases tallied since the start of the pandemic. New cases were recorded in all age groups but those over age 90; the majority of new cases were in people in their 50s; followed by those in their 30s and 60s.

The University of Montana Western reported 13 total COVID cases since school began, according to the most recent statewide report. Beaverhead County High School listed 21 total cases (12 in students); Parkview Elementary listed 44 total cases (28 in students); and Dillon Middle School listed 22 total cases (18 in students). Montana Youth Challenge Academy listed 11 total cases, all in students.

Active hospitalizations were at more than 400 daily in the past week. As of Monday (the most recent state hospital report) Barrett Hospital had two people hospitalized with COVID-19, and was 56% full. Hospitals in Cascade, Lewis and Clark, and Sweet Grass were 100% full; other hospital facilities in Chouteau, Lake and Yellowstone counties were over 90% full. Kalispell Regional Medical Center in Flathead County was over its ICU capacity.

There were 5,836 new cases and 99 new deaths added in the past week statewide. As of Tuesday, there were 173,104 total cases and 2,305 deaths counted since the start of the pandemic.

There have been more than 45.3 million COVID-19 cases and over 733,800 deaths recorded nationwide.