In a Tuesday press conference from Helena, Governor Greg Gianforte brought welcome news for a state ranked near the bottom for allocation of COVID 19 vaccine doses per 100,000 population.

Thousands of doses allocated to CVS and Walgreen’s drugstores that have gone unused will now be made available to the Phase 1 B population of Montana.

“In partnership with CVS, and Walgreens, we've identified roughly 19,500 unused doses available for the state to redirect towards our efforts to protect the most vulnerable Montanans,” said Gianforte. “Nearly 10,000 more vulnerable Montanans will be fully vaccinated as a result of this reallocation.”

Gianforte said his staff moved quickly to acquire the unused doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

“When we heard about an anticipated unused supply last week, my administration immediately made the request of the federal government to redirect these doses,” he said. “This request has been approved, and in the coming days, we will be releasing these doses to hospitals across the state. From there, DPHHS will coordinate closely with local partners and hospitals to help set up community clinics to serve as many Montanans as possible. As information becomes available about the time and place of these clinics, we will provide updates. Until then, we continue to ask Montana's patience as we organize this effort to deploy unused vaccines from CVS and Walgreens.”

Gianforte emphasized the fact that Montana is still in Phase 1 B.

“As you know, Montana remains in the 1 B phase to vaccinate the most vulnerable Montanans aged 70 years or older and 16 and older with serious underlying health conditions and Native Americans and other people of color are eligible to receive the vaccine. Now, many local public health officials are working diligently to serve the most vulnerable and get the vaccines into arms as quickly as possible.”

Public Information Director Nick Holloway with the Department of Emergency Services said he welcomes the news about the extra doses and looks forward to sharing the vaccine with as many Missoula County residents as possible. He said more mass vaccination clinics will be forthcoming when the vaccine allocation arrives.

 

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