HELENA, MT (STL.News) Governor Greg Gianforte today announced the state will expand its efforts to protect the most vulnerable Montanans by entering Phase 1B+ of the state’s vaccine distribution plan on March 8, 2021.
In Phase 1B+, COVID-19 vaccines will be available to Montanans 60 years of age and older and Montanans 16 to 59 years of age with additional qualifying medical conditions like asthma, cystic fibrosis, and liver disease.
“With this expansion, we are prioritizing the population groups that account for nearly 90 percent of Montana’s total deaths and more than 70 percent of Montana’s hospitalizations during this pandemic. Through this thoughtful, data-driven, commonsense approach, we will continue to minimize hospitalizations and deaths from this virus,” Governor Greg Gianforte said.
He continued, “Montanans have been remarkably patient as we await more supply from the federal government. My priority remains ensuring that every Montanan who wants the vaccine, can get the vaccine. We won’t stop working until that’s accomplished.”
Data collected by the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) showed that Montanans 60 years of age and older account for 89 percent of deaths and 72 percent of hospitalizations from COVID-19. Phase 1B, which Montana entered into on January 19, made vaccines available to populations that accounted for approximately 75 percent of deaths and 50 percent of hospitalizations from COVID-19.
Governor Gianforte announced Phase 1B+ after the DPHHS polled local jurisdictions on their Phase 1B progress. The majority of jurisdictions estimates its 1B completion was greater than 50 percent, with 14 jurisdictions estimating a Phase 1B completion rate greater than 75 percent.
To date, 260,705 doses have been administered in Montana, with more than 200,000 doses administered since launching Phase 1B.
The state will enter Phase 1B+ on March 8. Individuals in Phase 1B+ are encouraged to visit covidvaccine.mt.gov to find information regarding COVID-19 vaccine availability and scheduling in their area.