HELENA, Mont. – At a news conference this afternoon, Governor Greg Gianforte announced that COVID-19 vaccines will be available to all Montanans beginning April 1, 2021.
“A few months ago, projections estimated Montanans 16 and older would be eligible for the vaccine as late as mid-July. Today, I’m pleased to announce that we’re moving up that timeline. All Montanans 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on April 1st,” Gianforte said.
Gianforte encouraged Montanans to get a vaccine.
“I look forward to getting the vaccine when my name is called, and I encourage all Montanans to consider doing the same. Getting one of these safe, effective vaccines will protect you, your loved ones, and your neighbors from this virus. It will help us get back to a more normal life,” Gianforte said.
Gianforte added, “As more Montanans get the vaccine, we will begin to approach the time when we are no longer in a state of emergency and we can remove our masks and throw them in the trash.”
Gianforte also addressed the principles guiding his administration’s approach to distributing the vaccine.
“Improving Montana’s response to this pandemic has been my top priority as your governor,” Gianforte said. “We took a strictly data-driven approach to protect the most vulnerable, and it’s saving lives.”
On his second full day in office, Governor Gianforte changed the state’s vaccine distribution plan to prioritize and protect Montanans most at-risk of complications from COVID-19. Montana health care and seniors groups praised Gianforte’s improvement of the state’s vaccine distribution plan. About a week after the governor’s changes, the federal government recommended similar modifications.
On January 19, the state entered Phase 1B to vaccine Montanans 70 years of age and older, Montanans 16-69 years of age with severe underlying health conditions, and Native Americans and other persons of color at elevated risk of COVID-19. Montana’s Phase 1B population accounts for 75% of deaths and 50% of hospitalizations from COVID-19 in Montana.
Earlier this month, Governor Gianforte announced the state would expand its efforts to protect the most vulnerable Montanans by entering Phase 1B+ of the state’s vaccine distribution plan on March 8. In Phase 1B+, COVID-19 vaccines are available to Montanans 60 years of age and older and Montanans 16 to 59 years of age with additional qualifying medical conditions like asthma, cystic fibrosis, and liver disease. Montana’s Phase 1B+ population accounts for nearly 90% of deaths and more than 70% of hospitalizations from COVID-19 in Montana.
To date, 367,211 doses have been administered in Montana, with more than 142,490 Montanans fully immunized.
Montanans interested in getting their COVID-19 vaccine are encouraged to visit covidvaccine.mt.gov to find information regarding COVID-19 vaccine availability and scheduling in their area.