At a press conference in Helena on Friday, Governor Greg Gianforte, along with State Health Officer Dr. Greg Holzman and General Matthew Quinn, Commander of the Montana COVID 19 Task Force, addressed the issue of a lack of vaccine to battle the pandemic.

On a positive note, Gianforte said the state had reached a milestone in vaccinations.

“Today we are approaching a milestone, with nearly 100,000 vaccines administered here in the state, and nearly 25,000 Montanans who have been fully immunized,” said Governor Gianforte. “In fact, Montana ranks seventh in the nation in getting shots in the arms of citizens. That's great news, considering we are a larger state than all the states ahead of us in terms of geography.”

Dr. Holzman plainly stated the problem that Montana faces in vaccinating its citizens against COVID 19.

“We want the public to be aware that supply does not meet the current demand, but that is not stopping us,” said Dr. Holzman. “We want to make sure that all the vaccines that come into Montana are getting into arms quickly, but our current supply from the federal government limits our ability to give everyone the vaccine today, but we don't want to hold on to it. We're going to get it into arms.”

Holzman said he expects that situation to improve as time goes by.

“The good news is that we suspect the vaccine supplies will increase as things are moving forward at the federal government and that’s encouraging,” he said. “We also know that just this week, Johnson and Johnson, which is another vaccine company, has released their data to the FDA and we're hoping that they will get approval in an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) which will add another vaccine to our stash of vaccines that we can give and this vaccine is exciting because it's a one shot vaccine.”

General Quinn addressed the number of doses and where Montana ranks versus other states.

“We looked at the chart as to per 100,000, how many doses are coming into Montana?” asked General Quinn. “We were 45th out of 50 states on that list, so we're not sure how the federal government are is coming up with the allocation per state. As Governor Gianforte mentioned, he sent a letter to the President asking to increase our allocation. Hopefully that will have some effect, but right now it’s some art that we aren't able to read into as to why we're getting what we're getting.”

Each county is delivering the vaccine in its own way according to the directions of their health departments.

The Missoula County vaccination coordination team is in charge of allocating the vaccine and setting up vaccination clinics.

 

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