Montana begins vaccinating Phase 1B+ of governor’s plan

Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Montanans aged 60 and over, and those aged 16-59 with specific health conditions, can now sign up for their shot at the coronavirus vaccine.

Gov. Greg Gianforte announced the new phase, Phase 1B+, last week. Phase 1B+ vaccinations began Monday. The age group has seen 89 percent of deaths and 72 percent of hospitalizations due to COVID-19.

“With this expansion, we are prioritizing the population groups that account for nearly 90 percent of Montana’s total deaths and more than 70 percent of Montana’s hospitalizations during this pandemic. Through this thoughtful, data-driven, commonsense approach, we will continue to minimize hospitalizations and deaths from this virus,” he said.

The single-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine was recently approved for emergency use, adding another source of vaccine to the supply.

Gianforte said the timeline for Phase 1C remains roughly the same – late spring or early summer. Phase 1C includes frontline essential workers not in the other earlier phases.

Beaverhead County Public Health wrote on its Facebook page they hope to move into Phase 1C in April for the county. To schedule a vaccine appointment for Phase 1B+ candidates or earlier, call public health at 683-3203, and leave a name and phone number.

Barrett Hospital and HealthCare announced last week that residents should seek their vaccine from public health, as the Barrett clinic is now partnering with public health to vaccinate patients and community members.

Fully vaccinated individuals can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask, according to newly-released U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without masks, unless any of those people or those they live with have an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The guidelines can be viewed at: coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fullyvaccinated.html

As of Tuesday, 117,763 Montanans have been fully immunized against COVID-19, out of 314,522 total doses administered. Beaverhead County fully immunized 1,150 people, out of 3,240 doses administered (as of Monday).

The county added two cases this week, sitting at two active cases and 868 total cases as of Tuesday. Montana added 935 new cases and 13 deaths this week. The state counted 101,093 total cases and 1,385 deaths as of Tuesday.

There are more than 28.8 million cases and over 523,800 deaths nationally recorded as of Monday, according to the CDC.

Barrett Hospital cedes COVID shots to public health

Barrett Hospital and HealthCare will partner with Beaverhead County Public Health for patients and community members to get vaccinated with the COVID-19 shots. Barrett is no longer planning to administer the shots through its clinic, and directs residents to seek the shots through the public health department.

“We feel creating one location and process will better serve those wanting to be vaccinated, and in a more timely manner,” according to a March 4 press release.

Beaverhead County Public Health will continue to communicate which patient criteria they are currently vaccinating. Barrett and public health will collaborate throughout the process as new developments arise regarding vaccine distribution and delivery.

To schedule a COVID vaccine appointment with public health, call 406- 683-3203.

For COVID-19 related questions, or to schedule a general medical appointment, call the clinic at 406-683-1188.