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More Yellowstone County first-dose vaccine appointments available

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Posted at 2:16 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 19:28:35-04

Billings, MT – Appointments for free, Yellowstone County community COVID-19 vaccination clinics at Cedar Hall at MetraPark may be made online starting at 2 p.m. today, Thursday, March 25. The Unified Health Command (UHC) expects to have 3,500 first-dose appointments available the week of March 29.

Appointments are available to all Yellowstone County residents age 16 and older. Individuals under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who can sign the vaccination consent form. Vaccine consent forms are also available at covid.riverstonehealth.org under COVID-19 Vaccine Information.

New this coming week are early evening appointments and Friday afternoon appointments.

· Wednesday, March 31: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. AND 3 – 7 p.m.

· Thursday, April 1: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. AND 3 – 7 p.m.

· Friday, April 2: 8 a.m. – noon AND 1 – 5 p.m.

To schedule a first-dose vaccination appointment, go to mtreadyclinic.org.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 29, appointments will be available by calling 406.651.6596. Appointments have been saved for people who are unable to schedule online.

Appointments for 16- and 17-year-olds who live outside of Yellowstone County may be made by phoning 406.651.6415.

UHC clinics are providing the Pfizer vaccine, which has special storage requirements and is approved for people as young as 16. Most small population counties have received the Moderna vaccine that is only approved for people 18 and older. Therefore, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) has approved having 16- and 17-year-olds from outlying counties get their COVID-19 vaccines in Yellowstone County. Since these teens must be accompanied by a parent, the parent may schedule an appointment to be vaccinated at the same time the teen. Out-of-county individuals ages 16 and 17 should call 406.651.6596 to schedule a vaccination appointment.

Among the 161,300 residents of Yellowstone County, more than 36,000 have received their first vaccine dose and more than 26,000 have been fully immunized, according to DPHHS.

When you schedule your first dose, please be sure you will be available at that same time three weeks later to receive your second dose. Before leaving Cedar Hall, you will get an appointment for your second dose vaccination, which will be provided at the Shrine Auditorium, 1125 Broadwater Ave.

Masks are required at all times at the vaccination clinic sites. After receiving the vaccination, there is a 15- to 30-minute observation period before people are able to leave.

St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings Clinic and RiverStone Health have staffed free community clinics since January. Next week, a private contractor will start providing clinical staffing at Cedar Hall and the Shrine. The Montana National Guard will continue to staff nonclinical jobs required for these large-scale vaccination clinics. RiverStone Health continues to oversee and manage the Cedar Hall and Shrine vaccination clinics.

COVID-19 vaccinations are by appointment only, no walk-ins. To learn more about safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines, go to covid.riverstonehealth.org.

COVID-19 vaccines also are available at many Yellowstone County retail pharmacies. Check vaccinefinder.org. Locations other than the free UHC clinics may charge a vaccine administration fee.