COVID-19 Vaccination Plan
The Richland County Health Department is providing COVID-19 vaccines in phases according to plans and guidance provided by Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
The Health Department has reviewed and evaluated guidance and presents the following implementation plan for administering COVID-19 vaccines in Richland County. This plan was reviewed by Richland County Board of Health on January 12, 2021. Scroll to the bottom of the page for Frequently Asked Questions.
Frequently Asked Question
Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccines are available in Richland County. COVID-19 vaccine are available by appointment only. The Health Department receives limited allocations of vaccine to administer to the community. You will be notified of the place of your appointment when you are offered an appointment.
Can children be vaccinated for COVID-19?
The vaccines carried by the Health Department are licensed only for those 18 and older at the time of vaccination. Other locations across the state may be able to provide vaccines for those 16 and older. Please visit www.vaccinefinder.org to find a location that carries the Pfizer vaccine, licensed for those 16 and older. There are currently studies underway to study COVID-19 vaccination in those younger than 16.
How will I know when a vaccine dose is available for me?
The Health Department will provide notification of vaccine availability on our Facebook page, in the local newspapers, and on local radio stations. Your name and phone number will be added to a waiting list, and you will be called when an appointment is available. You can add your name to the list by calling the Health Department at 406-433-6947.
Why do I need to make an appointment?
The Moderna vaccine comes in 10 dose vials that must be used within 6 hours of opening. The Department is scheduling appointments to ensure that all 10 doses will be given, and none are wasted. Individuals will be instructed to arrive on time and if cancellation is unavoidable, to do so with as much advance notice as possible. If individuals are more than 10 minutes late, they will be required to reschedule.
The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine is a 1-dose vaccine that comes in 5-dose vials. Like the Moderna brand, all 5 doses must be administered within a short amount of time so that none are wasted. Individuals will be instructed to arrive on time and if cancellation is unavoidable, to do so with as much advance notice as possible. If individuals are more than 10 minutes late, they will be required to reschedule.
How many doses do I need to get?
The Moderna COVID-19 provided to the Health Department is a two-dose series that should be administered at least 28 days apart. You will be provided with a card that shows the date you received the first dose so that you may track when you are due for the second dose. This is also for your personal record. You must receive two doses of the same brand of vaccine. You can read more about the Emergency Use Authorization for the Moderna vaccine.
The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) is a 1-dose vaccine. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks following the Janssen vaccine. You can read more about the Emergency Use Authorization for the Janssen vaccine.
What if I need to reschedule or cancel my appointment?
If you need to cancel your first appointment, do so as soon as possible by calling the Health Department at 406-433-2207. Your name will be moved to the next available clinic. If you need to reschedule your second appointment, call the Health Department as soon as possible, and your name will be moved to the next available clinic. If you want to cancel your second appointment, call the Health Department as soon as possible. Your appointment will be given to the next person on our waiting list. Be sure that you want to cancel-if you change your mind, your name will be added to the end of our list.
I received first dose in another state/locality. Can I get my second dose at the Health Department?
You must receive two doses of the same brand of vaccine. The Health Department carries the Moderna brand COVID-19 vaccine. We will accommodate your second dose of Moderna vaccine by appointment. Please call us at 406-433-6947 to schedule your second appointment. Remember that the second dose is due 4-6 weeks after the first-this information should be provided on your vaccine record card.
If you received the first dose of Pfizer vaccine, please use www.vaccinefinder.org to locate a second dose of vaccine.
Is there a charge for the COVID-19 vaccine?
The Health Department will bill private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid $40 for the standard vaccine administration fee. If you do not have insurance, you will be asked to pay the administration fee. If payment causes a hardship, you will still receive the vaccine. The administration fee is a standard fee charged to recoup costs of administering the vaccine. This includes staff time and supplies.
Should I get vaccinated if I've already had COVID-19?
Current evidence shows that immunity to COVID-19 decreases after 90 days following infection. This means that even individuals who have had COVID-19 should get the vaccine. However, if you are currently infected with COVID-19, you must isolate until you have been released from isolation by the Health Department and are no longer considered infectious.
Do we still need to wear masks, social distance, and quarantine if we've received the COVID-19 vaccine?
Each of these precautions are tools to help fight the COVID-19 virus in our community. No vaccine is 100% effective. We expect that the vaccine will aid in preventing infection, and reduce the severity of symptoms in those that do become infected. This should lead to fewer hospitalizations and deaths. Mask recommendations, social distancing, and quarantine will remain in place until we have enough evidence to show that it is safe to remove these precautions.
I've heard that some people have bad reactions to the vaccine. What are you doing to ensure those who receive the vaccine are safe?
Those who receive the vaccine will complete forms that provide our nurses with important information relating to their vaccine and allergy histories. These will be reviewed by the nurse and discussed with the client. Each client will be asked to remain at the Health Department for at least 15 minutes past their vaccination so that they may be monitored for any allergic reaction. The Health Department is prepared with tools such as Epinephrine and oxygen should any client show signs of an allergic reaction. Following your vaccination, you will be provided information for v-safe, a smartphone-based tool that will direct you to surveys where you can report any problems or adverse reactions. You can read about the expected side effects of the vaccine. As always, we would encourage you to contact the Health Department at 406-433-2207 to report any adverse reaction to the vaccine.
Where can I learn about vaccine distribution in Montana? How many vaccines have been given in Richland County.
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services maintains a website for COVID-19 vaccine distribution information. This information is updated regularly, and includes the number of vaccines given in Richland County.
I'm looking for vaccine information from a non-governmental source. Where should I look?
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has an extensive list of FAQs about the COVID-19 vaccine.