Vaccine Demand Outpacing Supply in Yellowstone Co. As ‘Phase 1B’ Begins
Beginning this week, additional Yellowstone County residents will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but according to the Unified Health Command (UHC), demand for the vaccine "continues to outpace supply."
According to a press release from UHC, the vaccine will be offered to "additional groups under the State of Montana's vaccine allocation plan beginning the week of January 18, 2021."
Healthcare personnel, first responders, and long-term care facility residents and staff will still be eligible for the vaccine, while Phase 1B adds the following residents of Yellowstone County to the eligibility list:
- Individuals age 70 or older
- American Indians and other people of color at elevated risk for severe COVID-19 complications
- Individuals age 16-69 with the following high-risk medical conditions:
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 1&2 Diabetes mellitus
- On a case by case basis, medical providers may include individuals with other conditions that place them at elevated risk for COVID-19 complications
While announcing the additional groups that are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the Unified Health Command also said Billings Clinic, St. Vincent Healthcare, and RiverStone Health have only received "approximately 2,100 first doses of vaccine," and that the demand is currently outpacing vaccine availability.
In the press release, the Unified Health Command asked Yellowstone County residents to show patience as they "quickly and safely administer the vaccines that will help bring the pandemic to an end."
Anyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine should make an appointment. No walk-in vaccinations will be offered, and residents should have photo identification and insurance information with them at the appointment. There's no charge for the vaccination, according to UHC, but the press release stated that "an administration fee will be billed to insurance."
Here are the details to schedule an appointment, according to the UHC:
- St. Vincent Healthcare: 406.237.7050 or if a St. Vincent Healthcare patient, through MyChart at MyChart.SCLHealth.org
- Billings Clinic: 406.435.5744 or if a Billings Clinic patient, through PatientConnect at www.billingsclinic.com/patientconnect.
- RiverStone Health Public Health: 406-651-6596 or through link https://forms.gle/mUA22aWCE5i7XiZu8 RiverStone Health is only able to schedule vaccinations for people 18 and older because it received the Moderna vaccine. Public Health is not charging an administration fee.
The Unified Health Command continues to work closely with our state partners on vaccine allocation and is administering it as quickly as we are able. We wish we could give more COVID-19 vaccinations, but because vaccine supply has not caught up with demand, I ask residents to be patient. Many Yellowstone County residents have called UHC partner organizations asking to be put on a COVID-19 vaccination waiting list. Unfortunately, there is no such list. Once we know how many vaccines we will receive, we coordinate our vaccination plans and for now, that is on a week-to-week basis. -John Felton, Yellowstone County’s Health Officer, President and CEO of RiverStone Health
According to the press release from the Unified Health Command, more than 6,000 vaccinations have been given in Yellowstone County since mid-December, with some already having received their second vaccination.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccinations, CLICK HERE.