Montana Governor Greg Gianforte held a press conference in the State Capitol building on Thursday to promote the fact that Montana was rated the most efficient state in utilizing COVID 19 vaccines from the federal government.

He expanded on that statement.

“Let's put our efficiency in context,” said Gianforte. “Montana is the fourth largest state in the country, and our communities are different and unique, urban, rural and frontier. Despite our expansive size, we're getting shots in arms protecting the most vulnerable and saving lives, but we won't rest on our laurels. We have many more Montanans to serve as we work on a path to get back to normal, but our success in doing so depends upon the federal government sending us our fair share of the vaccine.”

Gianforte addressed the challenge of getting the vaccine to Montana’s rural population.

“At my direction, Montana opted into a federal pharmacy program to get more vaccinations to Montana to ensure that Montana's rural communities have access to these safe and effective vaccines,” he said. “These doses will be sent to pharmacies in some of our most rural counties. 21 counties have had doses delivered to pharmacies via this new program. As of today, these pharmacies have received 3,100 doses of vaccinations.”

Responding to a question of when Montana might be receiving the single shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine, Gianforte called on Adjutant General Matthew Quinn, Executive Director of the Governor’s COVID 19 Task Force.

“As it relates to Johnson and Johnson, I think we're going to get more information this week,” said Adjutant General Quinn. “As we've talked about in the past, every Tuesday, CDC comes out and says Montana, here's the quantity that you can order. Johnson and Johnson was not included in that order quantity this week. We have an expectation of about a million doses we understand will be released by Johnson Johnson the week that they finally do come out. We'll see a prorated share of that, maybe 1,000 doses to 1,500 doses probably but no specifics as of yet, but we're looking forward to more doses in Montana getting in arms.”

Gianforte was asked about when Montana will start vaccinating patients in the next tier.

“It is true, we're making good progress,” he said. “So you can see that on our dashboard as to which counties, the chart gets greener every single day as we get more shots in arms. We're just beginning discussions about when we can expand. We've gotten feedback from some counties that they're getting to the end of the current one B group, and we'll need to make a decision here in the next couple of weeks on how we get to the next tier.”


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