This week, Ravalli County Public Health received 600 doses of the Moderna vaccine from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS). Director Tiffany Webber said in a news release that Public Health had 300 doses and the other 300 doses were sent to Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital.

Of the COVID-19 vaccines at Public Health, 100 doses were transferred to Ravalli Family Medicine to begin vaccinating their Phase 1 B patients. The remaining 200 are being used to cover previously scheduled appointments, Webber said. The inoculations are happening at a new Public Health Annex at South Third and State Streets in Hamilton. Ravalli County Public Health has administered 500 doses so far, with residents now getting their required second doses.

Meanwhile, in Helena at the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), Public Information Officer Jon Ebelt said Montana is expecting to receive 16,425 first doses and 13,525 second doses of vaccine. Ebelt said that the distribution from Helena to the local providers is expected to happen the week of February 8th.

It was announced earlier by Governor Greg Gianforte that 19,500 unused Pfizer vaccines are being reallocated to long-term care and assisted living facilities. Those doses need to be stored in ultra-cold freezers and are being sent to Montana hospitals.

The federal government is partnering with 21 national pharmacy chains and independent pharmacy networks to help administer the COVID-19 vaccines. The "Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination" will start the week of February 8th and vaccinations are expected to start as early as February 11 across the USA. DPHHS has not been notified which pharmacies in Montana will be part of that program, Ebelt said in a news release.

Ravalli County Public Health has two new COVID websites - both are linked from the Ravalli County COVID-19 website. The "Vaccine Info" site that lists links to the local providers of vaccine when it becomes available The "Notice of Intent" site is where Ravalli County residents can register with the Public Health Department, saying they would like to be vaccinated. Public Health will use that database to schedule vaccinations, according to the Phase the state is in. You only need to register once, with no need to call Public Health. Instead, they will call you when more information is available. Registering there also does not prevent you from getting the vaccine elsewhere.

Webber said to be patient, continue to wear your mask, wash your hands and keep your social circle small.

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