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CFVH expands vaccine eligibility

Those 18 and older can sign up to receive COVID-19 vaccine

 


Clark Fork Valley Hospital (CFVH) held another COVID-19 vaccination clinic over the weekend, administering more than 800 vaccines last week. At the hospital’s clinic on Saturday, 754 people received the Moderna vaccine, which requires two doses. According to Dr. Gregory Hanson, CEO of CFVH, the hospital has administered more than 5,000 vaccine doses with approximately 1,800 individuals being fully vaccinated.

“It is a remarkable testament to the national effort to develop the vaccine and distribute it in just over the one year we have been dealing with COVID-19,” Hanson said. “Locally, a great deal of praise is deserved for numerous public health and hospital personnel who have taken on the additional work to deliver the Moderna vaccine to those that wish to receive it. Other community members have contributed in these efforts as well with traffic control at vaccine clinics, supplying food for workers, getting the message out about availability and helping individuals register for the vaccine. We want to express our thanks and gratitude to those working extra hours and going the extra mile. It has been, and will continue to be a community effort we should all be proud of.”

CFVH is collecting information on those wanting to get the vaccine as it is available. A survey at http://www.cfvh.org helps the hospital schedule residents for vaccination. Hanson said they have begun scheduling vaccinations for individuals in Phase 2 based on the CDC guidelines. That includes any individual age 18 or older. “This marks another turning point in our efforts to limit the effects of COVID-19,” the hospital CEO stated.

The hospital will continue vaccination clinics every other Saturday through May 15. As the number of people requesting vaccinations lessens, CFVH will have smaller weekly clinics. Vaccinations are available by appointment only and the only way to get an appointment is to use the hospital’s online survey tool at cfvh.org, hospital staff said Monday.

Montana has fully vaccinated approximately 20% of the population as of Monday, ranking 11th in the country among states. “Not bad when you consider the barriers of distance and low population density that we must overcome to accomplish this effectively,” Hanson said, adding that this statistic is another testament to what Montanans can accomplish. The state has administered more than 525,000 vaccines to residents.

Hanson said many residents have been inquiring about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that requires a single dose. “We do not yet have it and have no definite date when we will receive it or how many doses we may get. We will keep you updated as we know many of you are waiting for that option. We look forward to its availability also, as it will certainly speed up the process of fully vaccinating our county residents.”

With the coronavirus pandemic marking one year, Hanson said it is easy to become weary of so many things but reminds residents to stay home if they are sick, wear a mask to limit the spread to others, wash hands frequently and be conscious of social distancing and participation in large groups. He noted that at the vaccination clinic last week, “I saw an upbeat, joyful group. Hundreds were thankful they could obtain the vaccination if they chose to and respectful of those who choose not to. I also saw staff who found joy in providing care to their friends and neighbors, even though it meant extra work. It is my hope that spirit will continue to be present in Sanders County as we continue our efforts to slow the spread of the virus.”

 

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