The Missoula City County Health Department announced on Tuesday that as per the CDC and the FDA, the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has been placed on hold until further notice.

Health Officer Ellen Leahy made the announcement from her office in the Missoula City County Health Department.

“The CDC and the FDA has put the administration of Johnson and Johnson vaccines on a pause,” said Leahy. “That means today and until their expert committee meets tomorrow and comes to some conclusions about the questions that they want to examine, that means we won't be giving it anywhere in the country. So we just put that on hold and we have plenty of the other two vaccines that we can give. There's really not any reason for anybody to delay getting their vaccine, we can just switch them over to the other ones.”

Leahy then addressed the recommendations that will be made at the Missoula County Board of Health meeting on Thursday.

“We're making two recommendations to the health board at Thursday's public meeting,” she said. “The first is that the restrictions that are currently mandated on a number of places such as stores, bars, restaurants, gyms and all those places, that those be lifted as mandates and be issued rather as recommendations.”

Leahy said the mask mandates will remain in place until certain metrics have been met.

“We are not yet recommending as staff that the mask mandate go away,” she said. “Instead, we are recommending that the board adopt a metric as a goal, and when we reach that goal, if our cases stay low, then the mask mandate would be reissued in the form of recommendations. The goal that we're proposing to the board is that 60% of those eligible for the vaccinations gets at least that first dose that will give us some population level immunity.”

Leahy said the community is already on the cusp of meeting that 60 percent vaccination metric.

“We are now at 53 percent with at least one dose,” she said. “We are in good shape but we're not in the green zone yet. We're doing very well with vaccine uptake in Missoula. We've had a lot of vaccine providers of all different types from hospitals to different public clinics to pharmacies, the University, and that is what has really pushed that vaccine rate as high as it is in the state.”

The Board of Health meeting is Thursday from 12:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and will be held via Microsoft Teams.

The meeting of the Board of Health will be hosted remotely using Microsoft Teams. To join the meeting on your computer or mobile app:  Click here to join the meeting

Or call in (audio only):  +1 406-272-4824,,542292855#   United States, Billings

Phone Conference ID: 542 292 855#

The agenda, which also includes the link/phone info to join the meeting, is available here: BOH

The agenda and additional documents for the meeting are available here: More Docs

The links are also available at the webpage for Agendas, Minutes & Recordings, available at: https://www.missoulacounty.us/government/health/health-department/boards-councils/boards-agendas-minutes

 

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.