Second week vaccine plan announced

Monday, December 21, 2020

HELENA – Health care workers at rural hospitals and staff and residents at long-term care facilities will be the next in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Steve Bullock announced Dec. 18.

The state's vaccine allocation amounts through the end of the year were reduced approximately 20 percent – from 60,000 down to 48,000 – by the federal government, Bullock added.

"It’s disappointing news that our anticipated allocations of the vaccine have been reduced, but our priorities remain the same to protect those most vulnerable to severe disease or death from the virus and those who have been serving on the frontlines," Bullock said. "We are best utilizing the resources available to further reduce the strain on our hospitals and to save lives."

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) allocated next week’s shipment of 6,825 Pfizer doses to what will be the first of ongoing allocations to long-term care facilities, which includes nearly 300 nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This is a reduction from 10,725 previously-anticipated doses. The federal government is contracting with CVS, Walgreens, and Big Sky Managed Care Pharmacy to offer on-site COVID-19 vaccination services for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The doses will be provided directly to the participating pharmacies to administer.

The state is expected to receive 18,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week. This is the same as previously anticipated, but the number will likely be reduced in coming weeks. The Moderna vaccine includes 100 doses per box and does not require ultra-cold storage, making it more easily delivered to rural settings or small facilities. The Moderna vaccines will be shipped to Critical Access Hospitals and Community Health Centers for health care workers on the frontlines of the pandemic. 

As of Dec. 18, the vaccine has been administered to more than 3,000 Montana health care workers in 10 Montana hospitals, since it first became available earlier in the week. The remaining doses will be administered in the coming days.