The Missoula County COVID 19 Vaccination Team is looking forward to April 1, when all Montanans 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID vaccine.

Public Information Officer Nick Holloway provided an update on some of the mass vaccination clinics next week.

“We do have some clinics coming up next week,” said Holloway. “We're doing a clinic at the University of Montana with about 1152 appointments available. As of right now, about half of those are left, so people can get signed up pretty quickly for that. Partnership Health Center is also doing clinics all week at the Missoula County Fairgrounds with 300 doses a day and there are some of those left as well.”

Holloway said not having to put people in different phases makes their task much easier.

“We're also excited that we're going to go straight to having vaccines eligible to everybody 16 and over for in Missoula County,” he said. “This is going to be a lot easier than trying to message people within what would have been Phase 1, where some jobs are considered essential and others are not. That's just a very difficult thing to message to people.”

Holloway expanded on the essential jobs discussion.

“The whole field is open, so there's no need to vet anybody.” He said. “No need to parse it. No need to argue with anybody on the phone about whether their job is essential or not. Of course, it can be argued that almost any job is essential, and I think they took that into consideration when they went this route and we're glad they did.”

Holloway wanted to emphasize just how important it is to know and keep the appointment for your second vaccine.

“It's really important to keep your second appointment, he said. “I know occasionally things come up that are a greater priority. But for the most part, this needs to be prioritized. When we have second doses that go on unadministered, we call them orphan doses. That is a real problem and that snags up the line and it makes it very hard for people to get a second dose after that. You're only guaranteed a second dose when you get a first dose and the appointment that you make, you need to keep.”

For information about upcoming mass vaccination clinics, click here, or call 258-INFO (4636).

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