*Includes information updated by LCPH Jan. 14.
Update: Phase 1b of the Lewis and Clark Public Health vaccine distribution plan, which includes residents 70 years of age and older, Montanans 16 to 69 years old with severe underlying severe medical conditions such as Cancer, COPD and diabetes, and Native Americans or people of color who may be at risk for complications, begins Friday.
Vaccination drive-thru events are scheduled Tuesday, Jan . 19 and Wednesday, Jan. 20 at the Lewis and Clark County fairgrounds, but will be open to registered individuals only. The event is open to Lewis and Clark County residents eligible under Phase 1a and Phase 1b, Tier 1 ( residents 70 years of age and old, first dose only). Information on Phase 1b, Tier 2 vaccinations(Persons aged 16-69 years with high-risk for COVID-19 complications,American Indians and other people of color who may be at an elevated-risk for COVID-19 complications) have yet to be announced.
Registration for both days opens Friday, Jan. 15 at 9 a.m.
For senior citizens aged 70 or older without access to online registration, call the Rocky Mountain Development Council Area IV Agency on Aging at 406-447-1680.
During his first press conference Monday, Jan. 4. Gov. Greg Gianforte's revised the state's COVID-19 vaccination and distribution plans, forcing Lewis and Clark Public Health to update their plan for vaccination distribution.
Lewis and Clark County is currently in phase 1a, which covers an estimated 6,700 county residents, including licensed health care workers and staff who have direct contact with patients, staff and residents at long term care facilities, and behavioral and mental health service professionals.
Depending on the supply of vaccine, the county expects to move to Phase 1b Jan. 18, a week later than originally planned, due to the changes and a delay in vaccine delivery.
Under the plan laid out by former Gov. Steve Bullock, Phase 1b included people over the age of 75, essential workers, Native Americans and people in congregate care or correctional facilities. As revised by Gianforte, it shifts the priority to residents 70 years of age and older, Montanans 16 to 69 years old with severe underlying severe medical conditions such as Cancer, COPD and diabetes, and Native Americans or people of color who may be at risk for complications from the coronavirus. It bumps people in congregate settings or corrections facilities, and essential workers including first responders, teachers and grocery store workers down to Phase 1c.
Under the revision, about 13,000 people in the county are eligible for vaccinations during Phase 1b.
"Phase 1b includes a very large number of eligible individuals, and because current weekly local vaccine allocation is limited, it is likely we will need to roll out Phase 1b vaccination eligibility by tiered priority within the eligible population," LCPH said in Jan. 8 Facebook post.
Phase 1c is slated to begin in mid-March, with some 36,000 county residents eligible at that time. Phase 2, the final phase, is expected to start in July covering remaining county residents over the age of 16.
According to a report by KTVH Monday, the county is considering a pre-registration system for upcoming vaccination clinics to avoid complications with the distribution, and to improve management for people getting their second dose of the vaccine.
Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines involve a two-stage inoculation, but the vaccines can't be mixed.
KTVH also reported Monday that LCPH will continue to use the fairgrounds as their primary vaccination site, but intend to add more vaccination sites and to provide vaccination opportunities for Lincoln and Augusta in the future.
Lincoln Volunteer Ambulance President Aaron Birkholz said about seven members of the Lincoln Ambulance were able to get their first round of the Moderna inoculation a little early, prior to Gianforte's changes. He said there's now uncertainty as to when they may get their follow up shots. Birkholz said they should be able to get them taken care of in February, but noted that may change if, at the national level, the incoming Biden administration follows through on plans to release every available dose of vaccine, rather that holding some in reserve to ensure second doses are available.
Additional information on COVID -19 and vaccination plans can be found on http://www.lccountymt.gov/health/covid-19.html