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Montana VA Hosts First Clinic With Johnson And Johnson Vaccine In Glasgow

A box with 10 multi-dose vials of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine from Johnson and Johnson, March 03, 2021.
New York National Guard/FLICKR
Maj. Michael O'Hagan
A box with 10 multi-dose vials of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine requires one shot as compared to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require a shot and booster.

Eighty-five veterans Thursday received the single shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine in Glasgow, Montana. The shots were part of nearly 10,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine distributed by Montana Veteran Affairs since December.

The Montana VA Health Care System, which is leading a national pilot program to bring COVID-19 vaccines to rural veterans, flew the Johnson and Johnson vaccine from the Fort Harrison Medical VA Center in Helena to a clinic in Glasgow early Thursday morning.

Dr. Gregory Normandin, associate chief of staff for Montana VA, says this was their first clinic with the single-shot vaccine.

“There’s guys that drove down from Scobey to Glasgow and from Wolf Point and, you know, long distances," Normandin says. "The 'one and done' is critical for them to know, ok, if I’m going to miss work, it’s just one day of work; if I’m going to have to make this drive, it will just be a single there and back.”

Normandin says having the Johnson and Johnson vaccine also makes it easier for the VA team to organize one clinic, rather than plan to return 28 days later to give the second shot.

“That opens up the opportunity for us to go somewhere else and provide vaccine for a different part of the state,” Normandin says.

The Montana VA has set up COVID-19 clinics in 12 communities across the state since December.

Out of 47,000 enrolled veterans, more than 14 percent have received at least one dose of the two shot Moderna vaccine.

The VA says it will continue to host vaccination events until all veterans who want a vaccine are immunized.

Montana VA Health Care System staff will call each enrolled veteran to schedule an appointment. If a Montana Veteran is not enrolled in VHA healthcare, they can call (877) 468-8387 and select Option 4 or call (406) 447-7325 to find out if they are eligible. Unenrolled Veterans are encouraged to call as soon as possible.

Veterans can follow COVID-19 vaccination updates via email (sign up here), Facebook (@VAMontana), or Twitter (@VAMontanaHCS). If a Veteran has questions about receiving the vaccine, they can send their healthcare team a secure message through MyHealtheVet or call (877) 468-8387 (Option 2) to set up a time to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine.