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Montana’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allotment Increasing, Remains Limited

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate ready for a trial in May 2020.
Mladen Antonov
/
AFP via Getty Images
A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate ready for a trial in May 2020.

Gov. Greg Gianforte says Montana is seeing a trend of lower hospitalizations and new COVID-19 cases but is not getting enough vaccine from the federal level.

Gianforte announced in a press conference Friday that Montana is passing a COVID-19 vaccine landmark.

"Today we are approaching a milestone with nearly 100,000 vaccines administered here in the state and nearly twenty-five thousand Montanans who have been fully immunized," he said.

Gianfore says that Montana is receiving a lower allotment of vaccine per 100,000 people compared to most other states according to CDC data. Officials say they don’t know why Montana is receiving less, and Gianforte says he sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting more doses Thursday.

Gianforte says hospitals and county health departments are reporting they could receive double their current vaccine allocation rate and still be effective in their distribution.

"I'm encouraged that this week, virtually all long-term care facilities and nursing homes will have had at least one vaccination clinic with the second one scheduled. So the vaccine is getting to the most vulnerable."

Montana’s State Medical Officer Greg Holzman says in the first of week of February Montana is supposed to get over 15,000 first doses of the vaccine.

While this is a higher vaccine allotment than previous weeks, Gianforte’s COVID-19 task force says they are hoping the allotment will increase.

Holzman says while people wait to get vaccinated, it’s important to continue to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus.

"We highly encourage people to wear their mask," Holzman said. "To stay socially distanced, or physically distanced, to limit your being in crowded areas where you can't be socially distanced and where there's not good ventilation. And, of course, it's always good to continue to wash your hands."

Kaitlyn Nicholas is Yellowstone Public Radio's Report for America Indigenous affairs reporter.

Kaitlyn Nicholas covers tribal news in Montana.