Missoula County is very close to reaching the 60 percent goal of changing the mask mandate to a recommendation, according to Health Officer Ellen Leahy.

“Monday is when we get the updates from the state, so these numbers are just in.” said Leahy. “Missoula County’s vaccine productivity is first in the state and we are at 58.7 percent of those who are eligible who have received at least their first dose and just over 50% are fully immunized and that's very good, but that doesn't get us near enough to herd immunity.”

Leahy reminded those in Missoula County who have received their first vaccine to be sure to get their second vaccination at the appointed time.

“One isn't enough,” she said. “You really do need that second vaccine in order to stimulate all the aspects of the immune system that you need to get the immunity from COVID. You really don't want to skip that second one even though some people say they do feel some minor side effects, but they do go away.”

Leahy had advice for those who have received their first vaccine but who may be late in getting their second.

“They can go ahead and get the second one, and we would encourage them to do that,” she said. “They can do that at Lucky’s Market in Southgate Mall. You can see on our website, what days we're administering Pfizer and what days were administering the Moderna. Those are the two that do require that booster dose.”

Leahy explained what would happen with the mask mandate on May 10, if certain conditions are met, such as a 60 percent vaccination rate in Missoula County.

“Instead of a mandate, it will be a recommendation consistent with the CDC recommendation for masks,” she said. We would be asking people and businesses and events to follow those recommendations voluntarily. We've had such good cooperative behavior in that.  I think we'll still need a lot of protection from masks because we still aren’t at herd immunity. For vaccine we're at 50 percent and we've got to get up to about 75 percent.”

Leahy reminds those who have not yet been vaccinated that there will be a drive-through vaccination clinic at Imagine Nation Brewing on Wednesday starting at 3:00 p.m. featuring the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine.


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