I write today to share an update and provide helpful information and resources as Missoula County soon moves into Phase 1B for COVID-19 vaccinations.
This week, a team from our campus pharmacy, which is operated by the Skaggs School of Pharmacy, is out in the community delivering roughly 450 doses to residents of assisted living facilities in Missoula. This is an important step in completing Phase 1A and working to protect those among the most vulnerable in our community.
As we prepare for Phase 1B, Missoula County is launching a vaccine information website to coordinate vaccine administration throughout the county. This site contains an interactive map and a distribution dashboard showing how many doses have been administered. This site will contain information on all vaccine clinics and locations that currently have vaccine available. It is the best place for you to check on availability of vaccines. Please bookmark this website and check frequently for clinics as slots fill up quickly.
Please keep in mind that within Phase 1B the Missoula City-County Health Department is prioritizing individuals 70 and older, American Indians and other people of color who may be at an elevated risk for COVID-19-related complications. Others in Phase 1B include people age 16 to 69 with high-risk medical conditions. Qualifying medical conditions include:
Cancer; chronic kidney disease; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Down syndrome; heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies; an immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant; severe obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2); sickle cell disease; and Type 1 and 2 diabetes.
On a case-by-case basis, medical providers may include individuals with other conditions that place them at elevated risk for coronavirus-related complications.
Missoula County anticipates having more than 25 providers to administer vaccine once more doses become available. Looking at the county vaccine website, you will see who can currently be vaccinated and how to make an appointment, if available. There is no central appointment system. Each provider will have their own method, ranging from phone calls to online surveys and sign-ups. All appointments and vaccine clinics are based on vaccine availability, so they may be posted on short notice and availability may be limited.
The Missoula County information hotline now has vaccine information and assistance. When you call the hotline – 406-258-INFO (4636) and press option 3 – your call will be sent to the vaccine information call center. They can assist with sign-ups for some of the clinics, answer questions about current distribution phases and provide other information about Missoula County vaccination efforts.
Missoula County estimates there are likely 40,000 people in the county eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1B, which will take a significant amount of time given the state’s current limited vaccine availability. Please continue to take standard precautions to limit transmission of the virus: Wear your mask, watch your distance and wash your hands.
This information, including the links to the county sites and any additional updates, will be posted on the University coronavirus website for future reference.