Today the first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived to Tribal Health.
Pharmacy Division Director, Dr. Jessi Cahoon, received the first dose. Watch Sam Buffalo give a blessing, and Dr. Cahoon explain what happens in the process here!
Because the initial supply is very limited, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is directing the first doses to certain health care personnel, as well as residents and patients in long-term care facilities. 
This means, that the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is following CDC recommendations, and will give the first shipments of the vaccine to these populations first in our state.
At this moment, COVID-19 vaccines are not being offered to the general public. However, Tribal Health continues to work closely with the state, and we will keep you updated when the vaccine is readily available to broader groups.  
We encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they become eligible because it is a key step in saving lives and ending the pandemic. We recognize this is a personal decision, though, and that many people have questions about the vaccine.
Below you will find some educational resources to help you learn more:
Some ways that we will prepare for the vaccine once it becomes more readily available, is by creating a preregistration process for people to sign up to get the COVID-19 immunization.
Right now, we also know that the COVID-19 vaccines will require two doses. Depending on which one is given, people will need to schedule coming back to their health care provider to receive the second shot 21 or 28 days apart. 
The Pfizer vaccine was the first to arrive to the state and went out to the bigger hospitals first. Moderna is the second vaccine and can be sent in smaller shipments. We could see a combination of these two vaccines at Tribal Health.
Initially, there will be a limited amount of vaccines available, and this is why the state plan prioritizes the most vulnerable groups that should be vaccinated immediately. It is estimated that in Montana, there are 60,000 health care workers who will be first in line to receive the first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Tribal Health will continue to advocate for vaccines for the Tribal Health population as more and more vaccination doses become available.
A draft of the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan can be found here
As our numbers continue to rise, Tribal Health would also like to remind everyone that it is just as important to get your influenza shot. We are looking to vaccinate as a way to reduce spread of flu that also is a respiratory illness and that lands our vulnerable populations in the hospital. It’s just as important now as it was earlier to physically distance, wear your mask and wash your hands. Also, minimize gatherings, potlucks and delay travel if possible.