NewsLocal News


Yellowstone County health officer gives briefing on COVID-19 vaccine

Chamber tele town hall.PNG
Posted at 10:58 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 07:49:57-05

Yellowstone County receives about 2,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines each week, which is well under the demand.

The Billings Chamber of Commerce hosted a tele-townhall meeting on the vaccine allotment Thursday afternoon.

Montana received about 13,000 doses each week, with about 2,000 doses split among Billings Clinic, St. Vincent Healthcare and Riverstone Health.

Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton talked about herd immunity combined with vaccination.

John Felton.PNG
John Felton

"You really need to be talking up in the range of 70% of the population," Feltson said. "That's not an absolute number, but 70% of the population of Yellowstone County, is north of 100,000. And we have right now about 3,000 that would be considered fully vaccinated. We have another 15,000 that have been ill, and at least been exposed that we know of. So, we have a ways to go."

Felton said about 14,000 have received the first dose and about 3,200 have taken the second dose and are fully vaccinated.

Doctors say the vaccines are relatively safe for pregnant women.

If you've had allergic responses to flu shots, consult your physician.

They also addressed other concerns and side effects.

Dr. Scott Ellner.PNG
Dr. Scott Ellner

"We're seeing some limited side effects mostly some fevers maybe a little bit of shaking chills," said Dr. Scott Ellner, Billings Clinic chief executive officer. "At worst, it lasts anywhere from 24 to 36 hours. And the response is actually an immune response to that spike protein that you want the ability to create immunity within your body in order to prevent from getting COVID."

Dr. Michael Bush.PNG
Dr. Michael Bush

"There's a little bit of messenger RNA, that ends up in your cell and develops the protein that is that spike protein and your body recognizes that as foreign and develops antibodies to it," said Dr. Michael Bush, St. Vincent Healthcare chief medical officer. "That little bit of RNA that enters yourself, then just deteriorates over several weeks and goes away. It doesn't alter your body's DNA. That was one of those myths that was out there and other things."

Felton, Ellner and Bush recommend to contintue wearing masks and distancing.