Health officials say vaccine clinics will end soon

Lack of demand drives decision to end vaccine distribution
By 
Hunter Herbaugh
Thursday, April 15, 2021
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The Dawson County Health Department and Glendive Medical Center will soon stop hosting weekly vaccination clinics as the number of those interested in getting shots has dwindled. Health Department Interim Director Laureen Murphree delivered the update to the Dawson County Board of Health at their meeting on Monday.

Murphree noted that in recent weeks, health officials have been struggling to fill appointments and get people to attend the weekly clinics. This is partly because a majority of those who are eligible to get vaccinated have already done so.

“We’ve been getting fewer and fewer requests each week, so I will be working with (GMC Foundation and Marketing Director) Jaime Shanks to get information out about stopping the weekly clinics,” she informed the board.

Due to the county having only received the vaccines developed by Moderna and Johnson and Johnson, the minimum age to be vaccinated in Dawson County is 18. According to Murphree, this means there are a total of 6,994 people in the county that are eligible for either of the two vaccines. So far, 4,095, about 59%, have received at least partial immunization. Meanwhile, 1,957 individuals, about 28% of the eligible population has received both doses of the Moderna vaccine or the Johnson and Johnson vaccine’s single dose and have been fully immunized.

Murphree explained that as things are right now, April 23 will likely be the last vaccination clinic for those who have not received any vaccine while May 21 will be the last clinic for those who need to receive second dose of the Moderna vaccine.

Moving forward, she explained that the health department will still schedule appointments for people to receive the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, as fewer people are needed to open a bottle compared to the Moderna vaccine. For those who would prefer the Moderna vaccine, the department will refer them to Osco Pharmacy at Albertsons, as they will continue administering the Moderna vaccine.

“For the Moderna vaccine, you need 10 people to open a bottle, a lot more than the five you need for Johnson and Johnson. So after April 23, if people want to receive the Moderna vaccine, we will be referring them to Albrtsons because they will still have that,” she said.

The declining appointments also resulted in the health department disabling its online scheduling tool so anyone wanting to receive their vaccination will have to call the health department to schedule directly. The department can be reached at (406) 377-5213.

Reach Hunter Herbaugh at rrreporter@rangerreview.com.

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