COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs and FACTS

WILL THERE BE ENOUGH VACCINE FOR EVERYONE?

  • Yes! There will be enough doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for all who are interested in getting vaccinated.

CAN I GET ON A LIST TO BE NOTIFIED WHEN I’M ELIGIBLE FOR THE VACCINE?

  • Not yet. Currently we are not getting the amount of vaccine doses we’ve been requesting. For example, for the week of January 11th we requested 400 doses and received 100. Because we are still vaccinating front-line care workers, we don’t have enough to move into Phase 1B yet (for the general public who are 70 and older). However, the federal government recently announced they will release more doses so vaccination efforts can move quicker. Once we can begin offering the vaccine to the public, we will post that information here and will work with Public Health on making that announcement to the community.

WHEN WILL I BE ABLE TO GET THE COVID-19 VACCINE?

As per instructions by the Federal and State Government, we may only distribute the vaccine to pre-approved populations at specific times. The approximate timeline for each phase of vaccination is as follows:

  • Phase 1A – December 28, 2020 – February 26, 2021
    • For frontline healthcare workers and those with direct patient contact or virus exposure – not for the general public at this time.
  • Phase 1B – Estimated to be January 15, 2021 – March 15, 2021
    • For persons 75 years and older, frontline essential workers and other at risk populations. View full details and timeline on the Montana Government website here
  • Phase 1C – Estimated to be March 15, 2021 – July 15, 2021
    • For persons 65 years and older and other essential workers. View full details and timeline on the Montana Government website here
  • Phase 2 – Estimated July 2021
    • For all remaining Montanans aged 16 and older. View full details and timeline on the Montana Government website here

Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital is legally unable to alter this timeline and directive as set forth by the State of Montana and the Federal Government. For further questions please contact the Ravalli County Public Health Department (406) 375-6672, Monday – Friday 8am- 5pm (closed 12noon – 1pm).

We anticipate getting our supply of the vaccine for the public by Spring or early Summer, and will communicate at that time how and when you can obtain the vaccination.

WHO IS GETTING THE COVID-19 VACCINE FIRST?

  • The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will oversee distribution of the vaccine throughout the U.S. The first allotment will be a limited supply, so federal officials have announced that only health care professionals and residents of long-term care facilities may be the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital (MDMH) will receive the COVID-19 vaccine the fourth or fifth week of December. Once we have the vaccine, we will communicate directly with health care professionals at MDMH and other providers in our community, about how and when they can receive their vaccine.

WHICH VACCINE WILL MDMH HAVE?

  • We will receive the Moderna vaccine in December 2020 for frontline healthcare workers in Ravalli County. At this point, we don’t know whether we’ll receive the Pfizer vaccine or the Moderna vaccine intended for members of the public (arriving either in spring or summer of 2021). Once we know which vaccine we will receive, we’ll communicate how and when you can sign up for vaccination.

WILL THERE BE A COST FOR THE COVID-19 VACCINE?

  • No, there will be no cost to you for the vaccine. Under Operation Warp Speed, the vaccine doses were purchases with taxpayer dollars and the federal government requires it be offered at no cost.

DO I STILL NEED TO WEAR A MASK IF I GET THE VACCINE?

  • Yes. It will still be important to use all tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others.

WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER THE VACCINE?

  • The vaccine will be a vital part of all measures taken to help end this pandemic. We know it will take a long time for widespread vaccination and immunity to be achieved. Along with wearing masks, washing hands, and distancing, the vaccination will help us get past this pandemic quicker and potentially with less lives lost.

HOW WAS THE COVID-19 VACCINE DEVELOPED SO QUICKLY?

  • The scientific community was able to utilize previous vaccine research on other coronaviruses, as well as using new methods of developing vaccines, which allowed development to move quickly. Due to the pandemic’s high infection rates, the pace of clinical trials, which is usually the longest part of vaccine development, was greatly accelerated. The federal government invested significantly in the necessary manufacturing capacity to support companies as they aggressively pursued rapid development and distribution.

IS THE COVID-19 VACCINE SAFE?

  • Before any vaccine is permitted for use in the U.S., it must be reviewed and approved by the FDA. Normally this process can take a long time but in this case, the federal government sped up processing for the COVID-19 vaccines. An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is issued during public health emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure scientific innovation and medical solutions aren’t held back by administrative processes, and are brought to the public more quickly. For an EUA to be issued for a vaccine, the FDA determines that the known and potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccines have been tested in large clinical trials that included tens of thousands of study participants, to ensure the vaccines meet safety standards and to see how they offer protection to people of different ages, races and those with different medical conditions.

ARE THERE SIDE EFFECT FOR THE VACCINES?

  • Like most regularly recommended vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine can produce some side effects in some people. Some have reported fevers, headache, fatigue, muscle aches and soreness around injection sites. These symptoms are an expected sign that the body is building immunity.

FACTS vs. MYTHS ABOUT THE COVID-19 VACCINE:

  • The vaccine will not give you COVID-19; the live virus is not used in any of the COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Getting vaccinated can help prevent you from getting sick with COVID-19.
  • Exposure to someone sick with COVID-19 is not a protective measure against getting COVID-19 and is not the same as receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The vaccine is more than 90% effective.
  • The vaccines do not contain DNA, and it will not change your DNA. The vaccines use synthetic RNA or mRNA which “teach” our immune system how to recognize and fight the virus, but RNA doesn’t do anything to human DNA.
  • The vaccine does not contain human tissue or fetus tissue. There are no fetal cells used in any vaccine production process in the U.S.

More details and facts about the COVID-19 vaccine can be found on the CDC website here

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine here

Together, we’ll continue to keep the Bitterroot Valley healthy and strong.

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