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COVID-19 vaccine and the challenge of ever-evolving availability
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COVID-19 vaccine and the challenge of ever-evolving availability

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Jill Steeley

Jill Steeley, the executive director of PureView Health Center in Helena.

If you were one of the people who tried to register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, were not able to do so, and are wondering what happened, read on. If you are simply wondering what’s going on with the vaccination process, read on, as well. As you will soon find out, vaccine is limited and registration is a necessity.

Here’s what happened. When we were given the green light by Gov. Greg Gianforte to provide vaccine to those 70 years of age or older (Priority Group 1b, Tier 1) we had only 1,000 doses of vaccine and asked people to pre-register.

Demand was so great that we sold out in three minutes.

Once we sold out many who tried to register thought the registration website was down. That wasn’t the case. We simply couldn’t register any more people because we didn’t have any more vaccine.

This was frustrating for many of you — and for us. Those of us at PureView Health Center, and our partners at St Peter’s Health and Lewis and Clark Public Health, are committed to your health and the health of this community. Despite novel and changing circumstances related to the COVID-19 vaccine, we have generally been ahead of the curve. For example, this month we were able to vaccinate nearly 1,800 people through four drive-thru clinics held at the fairgrounds in what was known as “Priority Phase 1a.”

Like other health providers across the country, we are limited by the supply of vaccine we receive. And supply is limited. I want to assure you that we will continue to schedule drive-thru clinics as we receive vaccine. But availability is an ever-evolving situation.

Our task force is prepared to schedule mass vaccination clinics on short notice using mobile units and drive-thru clinics at the fairgrounds. We are just awaiting confirmation of the number of doses we can expect to receive. Because supply is so limited, pre-registration ensures efficient delivery of the vaccines and prevents you from having to wait for hours for your vaccination. Please continue to visit the county COVID-19 Hub https://arcg.is/14qeG00 for up-to-date information on priority groups, scheduled vaccination clinics, and to register for your vaccination once you become eligible.

We appreciate your patience as we navigate this challenging situation.

Jill-Marie Steeley is the CEO of PureView Health Center.

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