Montana Governor Greg Gianforte announced an aggressive schedule to open up all in the state to be vaccinated for COVID 19 starting on April 1.

At a press conference in Helena, Gianforte began by touting continually lower numbers of COVID cases throughout the state.

“As of today, Montana has administered over 367,000 vaccine doses and more than 140,000 Montanans have been fully immunized against the virus,” said Gianforte. “Our approach is working. Hospitalizations remain low with 54. Today in the entire state, 42 counties have cases in the single digits, and of those, 15 counties have no cases at all as of today, and only three counties have more than 100 cases all under 130.”

Gianforte continued to put forth positive numbers about the pandemic.

“There are also only 878 active cases in Montana today,” he said. “The last time Montana had less than 900 active cases was July 13. As vaccine production ramps up and new vaccines are introduced, we're seeing greater supply and our hope is growing stronger.”

Gianforte then moved the timeline forward for the state.

“I'm pleased to announce that we're moving up that timeline,” he said. “All Montanans, 16 and older will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on April 1. Over the next 15 days, the state DPHHS will continue its routine surveys to help jurisdictions that are in their Phase 1 B, and to see where jurisdictions are in Phase 1 B plus and see how the state can support them. Then, on Thursday, April 1, we will make these safe, effective vaccines available to every Montanan who wants one.”

Gianforte said the State of Montana is reaching out to local and national pharmacies to help expand the vaccinations.

“To handle this expansion, we're looking at how to continue working with our pharmacy partners so they can tap more into the state supply and get vaccines in arms,” he said. “I've said for some time, that when my name comes up in the line, I'm going to get my vaccine. Well, my name, like all other Montanans, 16 and older is coming up pretty soon. I look forward to getting the vaccine when my name is called, and I encourage all Montanans to consider doing the same.”

KGVO has reached out to Missoula County Health Officer Ellen Leahy for her response to the Governor’s announcement.

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