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COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Information for Montana

Page last updated 4/12/2021

Frequently Asked Questions

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Most Asked Questions Related to COVID Vaccine Allocation

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Why did the State of Montana update its recommendations?

All Montanans age 16 and older are eligible for the COVID vaccine beginning on April 1, 2021. Learn more about vaccine availability and scheduling in your community

When can I get vaccinated?

Montana has made great progress to protect those most vulnerable. Now, Montana enters a new phase. All Montanans age 16 and older are eligible for the vaccine beginning on April 1, 2021. Click here for local contact information about vaccine availability and how to schedule an appointment.

Where can I get vaccinated?

Montana has made great progress to protect those most vulnerable. Now, Montana enters a new phase. All Montanans age 16 and older are eligible for the vaccine beginning on April 1, 2021. Click here for local contact information about vaccine availability and how to schedule an appointment.

Which vaccine will I receive?

If you are 16-18 years old, you will receive the Pfizer vaccine as it is the only vaccine approved for persons under 18 at this time. If you are 18 years old and over, the vaccine you receive will depend on the allocation on hand of the provider who is responsible for your vaccine administration. There are currently three vaccines available, including Pfizer, Moderna and most recently the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

How far along is the state in the vaccination process?

As of April 12, 2021 nearly 590,000 total doses have been administered and over 245,000 Montanans are fully immunized. Track Montana’s progress on the state’s vaccine dashboard.

On April 1, all Montanans age 16 and older will be eligible for the vaccine. 

Who will let me know when I need my second dose?

When you receive your first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you will be given a vaccination card showing the type of vaccine you received and the date of your second scheduled dose. You may also receive an electronic notification from the facility’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) when the second dose is available. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is one dose.

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COVID-19 Vaccination Plan

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How has Montana prepared to distribute the vaccine?

All states were required to create a COVID-19 vaccination plan.

The plan outlines three vaccination distribution phases, key critical populations to be offered the vaccine first, and how the agency is working with key partners across the state to implement Montana’s plan. This plan is subject to change based on the ACIP and CDC’s guidance about priority populations. 

 DPHHS announced a COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Coordination Team on November 23. The team is comprised of stakeholders from various sectors across the state, many of who are already established COVID-19 crisis response partners. The team’s first meeting was held on November 24, 2020. 

DPHHS hosted a virtual Tribal Consultation on October 8, and included tribal governments, urban Indian health centers, and Indian Health Service.

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Vaccine Distribution Partners and Allocation Numbers

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How will the COVID-19 vaccine be distributed in Montana, and who will distribute it?

Vaccines will be allocated to Montana several ways: through a state allocation managed by DPHHS, through an allocation specifically to long term care facilities, and to federal entities such as Indian Health Services and the Veteran’s Health Administration. Montana tribes were given the opportunity to elect whether to receive their vaccine allocation from state or federal sources.  

Here’s a breakdown of how vaccine will be allocated in Montana.

State allocation managed by DPHHS

DPHHS will work with federal partners to distribute state vaccine allocations directly to enrolled providers across the state.

Long Term Care Facilities (LTCF) 

The federal government is contracting with CVS, Walgreens and Big Sky Managed Care Pharmacy to offer on-site COVID-19 vaccination services for nursing homes and assisted living facilities residents.

Tribal jurisdiction allocation

All Tribal entities were given the opportunity to either receive their allocation through federal or state channels. This includes tribal governments, Urban Indian Health Centers and Indian Health Service sites.

In Montana, 5 of 8 tribal governments, all five Urban Indian Health Centers and all the IHS sites chose to get their allocation from the IHS. IHS has been recognized as their own jurisdiction. Here is the IHS vaccination plan [ihs.gov]

The IHS allocation will be outside of the state allocation that DPHHS will receive. 

Confederated Salish and Kootenai, Blackfeet and Little Shell Tribes are expected to receive their allocation through the state allocation. 
 

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Vaccine Distribution to Critical Population by Phases

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Who will receive the vaccine first?

As of April 1, all Montanans age 16 and older are now eligible to receive the vaccine. 
 

 

When will the vaccine be available broadly for all Montanans?

On April 1, all Montanans age 16 and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. 

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Vaccine Safety

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Are the vaccines safe?

The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority. The clinical trials for COVID-19 have been conducted according to the rigorous standards set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If FDA determines the vaccine meets its safety standards, it can make it available for use in the U.S. by approval or Emergency Use Authorization (EAU). The FDA has made both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines available through EAU.

More information about vaccine safety. 

How will DPHHS monitor for safety?

The current vaccine safety system has the capacity to effectively monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines both under an FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and post-licensure.

CDC, along with FDA and other federal partners, will use established safety systems to conduct heightened safety monitoring of COVID-19 vaccines. 

DPHHS has a system in place to receive reports of any vaccine safety issues for all vaccines. The same system will be used to monitor for any COVID-19 vaccine safety. The DPHHS Immunization Program will be closely monitoring and responding to any safety issues identified. 

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Vaccine Administration and Storage

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Where will the vaccine be available in Montana?

Are the vaccines administered in two doses?

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine must be administered in two doses. The Pfizer vaccine must be spaced 21 days apart, and Moderna 28 days apart. Obtaining two doses is essential for the effectiveness of the vaccine and vaccine recipients will need to receive the same vaccine type as their first dose. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is a single-dose vaccine.

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The DPHHS website is being redesigned and will be moved to a new platform in July. 
Please be aware that some bookmarks to the DPHHS site may need to be updated after the move.
Thank you for your patience while we complete this move.