UM COVID Communication: December 10, 2021

UM Pharmacy Offers Flu Shots, COVID-19 Vaccinations

The Health Services Pharmacy inside Curry Health Center provides flu shots and COVID-19 vaccinations during regular business hours from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Walk in or call 406-243-5171 to schedule an appointment. 

Here are helpful FAQs about COVID-19 and influenza, including flu activity, vaccine types/efficacy, symptoms and testing.

What We Know About the Omicron Variant

Late last month, the emergence of a new variant, Omicron, was detected in Botswana and South Africa. Since then, cases have been confirmed in several countries, including Canada and the U.S. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Montana. Delta remains the dominant variant in our state and across the U.S.

While more data are needed to provide a definitive analysis of this new variant, here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sharing about Omicron so far:

  • How easily does Omicron spread? The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown. CDC expects that anyone with an Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
  • Will Omicron cause more severe illness? More data are needed to know if Omicron infections, and especially reinfections and breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated, cause more severe illness or death than infection with other variants.
  • Will vaccines work against Omicron? Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated will likely occur. With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations and death. The recent emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.
  • Will treatments work against Omicron? Scientists are working to determine how well existing treatments for COVID-19 work. Based on the changed genetic make-up of Omicron, some treatments are likely to remain effective, while others may be less effective.

Missoula, UM COVID-19 Cases Continue Declining

The news continues to be encouraging regarding COVID-19 on campus and in our community. Missoula County reports 279 active cases of COVID-19, of which 15 are UM students or employees.

Need an Asymptomatic COVID-19 Test?

The Missoula City-County Health Department and UM Curry Health Center continue to limit testing to symptomatic individuals or close contacts. If you need to be tested for travel or other reasons, here are some options for getting an asymptomatic COVID test in Missoula:

  • Walgreens. This website will walk you through the process to schedule an appointment and provide which locations near you offer PCR testing, rapid tests (IDNow), etc. Testing is available for ages 3 and up.
  • CostCare, PLLC offers symptomatic testing ONLY at their location at 3031 S. Russell St. Asymptomatic travel testing (only) is offered at 2819 Great Northern Loop from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Weekend testing is from and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 3031 South Russell. There is an $85 dollar fee for asymptomatic travel testing, with results in one to three days.
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) tests. Availability varies store-to-store, but OTC COVID-19 tests are available at many pharmacies, including CVS, Walgreens and Walmart. Typically, costs range from $25 to $35 for a box with two tests.

(Note: This may not be a complete list. We will add to this list as we are aware of additional options.)

Vaccine Cards: Safekeeping and How to Get a Replacement Card

When you receive your COVID-19 vaccine, you will receive a card with a record of when you received your dose(s). Experts recommend you store the original card with other important documents and store a copy of the card digitally. The simplest way to do that is to take a photo of the card and keep in on your phone. However, there are many ways to store your vaccine information digitally in apps or online portals. A great summary of options and best practices for storing your vaccine information digitally is online.

(Note: If you are required to provide proof of vaccination, check to make sure what forms of vaccine record are acceptable, such as photocopies, photos and digital uploads.)

If you lose your vaccine card, another can be issued to you by visiting your vaccine provider or other health professional. If you received the vaccine in Montana, the Health Services Pharmacy inside Curry Health Center will be able to access your records and issue a replacement card. If you received your vaccine out-of-state, you may need to contact the provider to see what steps are necessary to get a replacement.

Be well,

COVID Response Team

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