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Vaccines to be Administered to Phase 1B

By Emilie Sayler

Public Information Officer for the Ruby Valley Medical Center

Covid-19 Incident Command Team

Reprinted with Permission from The Madisonian

At the end of December, the State of Montana released an Information Sheet through the Montana Health Alert Network. The information sheet communicates direction for healthcare and public health entities in a phased distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines. This information was then updated on Dec. 31, but on Jan. 6, Gov. Greg Gianforte released another updated Information Sheet with significant changes, which can be found at -

Phase 1B Includes:

  • Individuals 70 years of age or older.

  • American Indians or other people of color who may be at elevated risk for COVID-19 complications.

  • Persons aged 16-69 with high-risk medical conditions including:

  • Cancer

  • Chronic kidney disease o COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

  • Down Syndrome o Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies

  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant.

  • Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)

  • Sickle cell disease

  • Type 1 & 2 Diabetes mellitus

  • On a case-by-case basis, medical providers may include individuals with other conditions that place them at elevated risk for COVID-19 related complications.

Gov. Gianforte’s update shifted some priority from essential workers to those considered high-risk due to age or medical conditions. Fortunately, due to our planning efforts, we were able to adapt to this change without much difficulty and are prepared to move into the next phase of vaccination despite this shift in priority.

With Gov. Gianforte’s updated plan, we will utilize our next supply of vaccines for community vaccination of individuals who meet the 1B criteria listed at the HAN link above. We are asking that all community members who meet the Phase 1B criteria and wish to receive this vaccine please contact us (842-5453 option 0, M-F 8-5). When the vaccine is received and we are prepared to administer it for this phase, we will then contact those interested persons to schedule dates and times for administration.

If you have specific questions about the vaccine, qualification for Phase 1B based on your personal medical history, or advice regarding this vaccine, please contact your primary care provider for consultation.

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine comes in a multi-dose vial of 10 doses. Once the vial is opened, it must be used within 6 hours or it is no longer viable and cannot be administered. We have worked sensibly within the phased guidelines and actively planned to prevent any potential waste of this vaccine. This vaccine also requires a second administration, 28 days after the initial, and anyone interested in a vaccine is asked to consider availability for the second dose.

Our goal here is to efficiently administer vaccines to all community members who wish to have it. We are dependent on supplies through the State and allocation of these supplies is dependent on need throughout the state. We are grateful to be included in this effort and for the opportunity to provide this service to the Ruby Valley.

The most recent update (Jan. 6) no longer designates approximate dates for these phases to begin, so we do not know when Phase 1C residents can anticipate vaccination. However, we are committed to meeting the healthcare needs of our community and will work diligently in this effort of community vaccination.

We will reach out to the community to solicit interest from Phase 1C residents when we have more information on an anticipated timeline for their vaccination.


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