Gov. Greg Gianforte announced Tuesday he received federal approval to redirect 19,500 unused COVID-19 vaccine doses to vulnerable Montanans.
The 19,500 doses identified by the state were originally provided to CVS and Walgreens under contract by the federal government to vaccinate residents and staff in long-term care facilities and assisted living facilities, according to a news release from the governor's office.
With the redirection of the unused doses, nearly 10,000 more Montanans in Phase 1B will be fully vaccinated.
Gianforte said at a news conference in Helena that doses will be released to hospitals across Montana in the coming days. DPHHS will coordinate with local partners and hospitals to help set up community clinics to serve as many Montanans as possible.
On Jan. 19, Montana moved into Phase 1B of the state’s vaccine distribution plan, which includes 70 years of age and older, 16 years of age and older with a high-risk underlying medical condition, and Native Americans and other persons of color who may be at elevated risk for COVID-19 complications are eligible to receive the vaccine.
Watch the full news conference below: