In response to a desperate call from an elderly home-bound listener, KGVO reached out to the Missoula City County Health Department in search of more detailed information on the upcoming COVID vaccine distribution.

Incident Commander Cindy Farr, in her twice-a-week video briefing, began with the current Phase 1 A distribution.

“Phase one A is the phase that we're currently in and that phase includes frontline health care workers, long term care, and assisted living facilities, including both residents and staff, and health care workers with direct patient contact or virus exposure,” said Farr. “We are a regional medical hub with thousands of frontline health care workers, so it's taking us a little longer to get through Phase One A in Missoula county than it may take counties with smaller population of health care workers.”

Farr said there are plans in the works for a mass vaccination clinic in Missoula County.

“We're also looking to secure a site for a mass vaccination clinic for Phase One A workers and we're working with the University of Montana in order to aid us in that effort,” she said. “We will release more details on that when our plans are all finalized. If you are a healthcare worker with direct patient contact and you have not yet received your first dose of vaccine, you can go to our website and you can sign up through a form. You can find that link at Missoula slash vaccination.”

Farr said safety is the number one concern in the search for a location for the mass vaccination clinic.

“Safety is our top priority and there are a lot of major safety considerations that we're troubleshooting for a mass clinic before we invite the most vulnerable people to come and get vaccinated,” she said. “The safety of this group is not something that we're taking lightly, especially as we're starting to see another uptake in cases in the community. We're also working to ensure that there are multiple distribution points across the county for vaccines. Once we get into Phase One B, because that is going to be a very large phase and we're looking at thousands and thousands of people that will need to get vaccinated.”

Farr said the pace of vaccine rollout may feel extremely slow, however Montana is one of the fastest in the country.

“Montana is 10th in the nation for vaccine distribution per 100,000 people according to the CDC,” she said. “So while it may feel like the vaccine distribution is going slow, we are one of the best in the nation, and we're currently working with our local partners and the State Health Department in order to collect the data on how many people have been vaccinated in Missoula County and we will start sharing that with you and we'll post it on our website as soon as we have that information.”

The website to get all the latest information can be found here.


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