(Editor Note: RiverStone Health Press Release)
BILLINGS – The number of first does of COVID-19 vaccine available to the community for the week of February 1, 2021 is the greatest it has been since vaccine began arriving in Yellowstone County. Unified Health Command healthcare providers (Billings Clinic, St. Vincent Healthcare, and RiverStone Health) received approximately 2,450 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to be distributed through community vaccination clinics at each of the healthcare facilities.
“From the start, the amount of vaccine received each week has varied. This week we are fortunate to have received more first doses of vaccine than ever before. We certainly hope that this is the beginning of a positive trend for the community,” said John Felton, Yellowstone County’s Health Officer and President and CEO of RiverStone Health. “Because of the continued unpredictability of vaccine supply, we will continue to plan distribution on a week-to-week basis, with the hope of being able to hold a community mass vaccination clinic before the end of February.
Both Billings Clinic and St. Vincent Healthcare received 975 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine. St. Vincent Healthcare also received 200 first doses of the Moderna vaccine. Both healthcare facilities will bill insurance providers an administrative fee. RiverStone Health received 300 first doses of the Moderna vaccine, which can only be given to people 18 years and older. Further, RiverStone Health Public Health is not billing an administrative fee to insurance providers.
Billings Clinic will be administering vaccine on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week. For an appointment call 406.435.5744. Telephone scheduling for new vaccination appointments is available Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to noon or until appointments are filled. If you are a Billings Clinic patient, you can schedule an appointment through PatientConnect at www.billingsclinic.com/patientconnect. [billingsclinic.com]
St. Vincent Healthcare will hold COVID-19 vaccine clinics on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. For the fastest and easiest experience, go to Vaccine Notification Sign Up form [linkprotect.cudasvc.com] at sclhealth.org/vaccineform [linkprotect.cudasvc.com]. You will be notified when a vaccine appointment is available. For people without internet access, call 406.237.7050 to schedule an appointment. The phone line will be open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday from 10-11 a.m. Once appointments are filled, callers will hear a recorded COVID-19 vaccine clinic message.
To schedule a vaccination appointment at RiverStone Health Public Health for Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday afternoon, logon to https://forms.gle/hT4aGVcq67rfThPp7 [forms.gle] People without internet access can call 406.651.6596. Callers will receive a recorded message once appointments have been filled.
No walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations are being given. Further, UHC healthcare providers do not have a waiting list for vaccination appointments and ask for patience as each facility works to get vaccine quickly and safely distributed.
Please wait to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if you have received any other vaccinations 14 days prior. After being vaccinated for COVID-19, do not receive any other vaccines for 14 days. Individuals who have received convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibody treatment should defer COVID-19 vaccination for at least 90 days.
Following Montana’s COVID-19 vaccine allocation plan, Yellowstone County is vaccinating Phase 1A and Phase 1B. These phases include healthcare personnel, first responders and staff and residents at long-term care facilities, and people in the following categories:
- Individuals age 70 and older
- Individuals age 16-69 with high-risk medical conditions.
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Down Syndrome
- 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 complications
- American Indians and other people of color at elevated risk for severe COVID-19 complications
At 95% efficacy after the second dose, COVID-19 vaccines offer extraordinary protection against the virus. A safety board approved every vaccine study and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully reviewed data from every phase of every vaccine trial.
Both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines have been granted Emergency Use Authorization (EAU) from the FDA. Both require two vaccine doses spaced 28 and 21 days apart, respectively. The vaccines are not interchangeable and recipients must be vaccinated with the same vaccine type as the first dose, from the same organization. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccines, logon to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html [cdc.gov]