Health Providers First to Get COVID-19 Vaccine in Montana

Hospitals in Billings and Bozeman were among the first in Montana to receive shipments Monday

By IRIS SAMUELS Associated Press/Report for America

HELENA — Hospitals in Billings and Bozeman were among the first in Montana to receive shipments Monday of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Several other health care facilities in the state reported that they expected to receive their first doses of vaccine later in the week.

Six health care workers in Bozeman received the vaccine Monday. Among them were registered nurses and doctors at the Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital intensive care unit, emergency department and respiratory therapy department.

Bozeman Health convened a vaccine task force to determine who would be the first health care providers to receive the vaccine. Those who are in close daily contact with positive COVID-19 cases are first in line for the vaccine, in addition to health care workers that provide specialized services.

It will take around a week to administer the first 975 doses of the vaccine delivered to Bozeman Health, according to Kallie Kujawa, the hospital’s incident command leader. No health care providers in the hospital have refused the vaccine so far, she said.

Dr. Mark Williams, Bozeman Health chief physician officer, called it “a real day of celebration” but cautioned that other public health measures, including social distancing and wearing face coverings, must be followed.

Ten health care facilities in Montana’s seven largest communities this week are set to receive a total of 9,750 doses of the vaccine produced by Pfizer. All doses will go to health care staff.

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