County set to get Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Sam Klomhaus – Enterprise Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Park County is expecting to receive approximately 100 doses of the recently-approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to supplement its overall vaccine supply, according to Health Department Director Alex Baukus.

Baukus said Tuesday the Health Department is still figuring out how it will distribute the Johnson & Johnson doses, which he said could be more useful in more remote parts of the county because the new vaccine requires only one dose, whereas the Moderna vaccines the county has been receiving require two doses four to six weeks apart.

The county continues to receive 300-400 Moderna doses each week, Baukus said, and has clinics scheduled at the Shane Center on Thursday for first doses and Wednesday for second doses.

Montana is moving through vaccinating phase 1B of its vaccination plan, which includes those aged 70 and up, those with certain chronic health conditions that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 and those in certain high risk groups such as people of color.

Park County’s vaccines are split among the Health Department, Livingston HealthCare, Community Health Partners, Wester Drug, Osco Pharmacy at Albertsons and the Medcor clinic at Mammoth.

Baukus said it’s hard to tell when Montana might move from phase 1B to phase 1C, as the Health Department gets more and more signups every day from people in 1B.

The Health Department is focusing its efforts on those ages 70 and up and people of color, Baukus said. He said the department started with 80 and up and then 75 and up, so progress is being made.

Baukus said he’s hoping the county will receive increasing amounts of the Moderna vaccine in the spring.

The county has been able to distribute all of its allocated doses each week, Baukus said.

“Nothing is going to waste,” he said. “We’re getting it out as soon as we’re getting it in.”