From: Chelsea Kleinmeyer, Community Health Division Director
Tribal Health continues to work with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) and to advocate for available allocations of COVID-19 vaccinations for our community.
There are limited amounts of vaccines available, thus the state plan prioritizes the most vulnerable groups.
To date, we are now beginning to move into Phase 1B of the state vaccination plan. Below, please find more detailed information about this prioritized group of patients and timelines.
Tribal Health has also begun to vaccinate Tribal Elders (those over age 70). Tribal Health is actively identifying and calling this group of patients to schedule vaccinations as more doses become available.
As always, this planning is subject to change, according to availability of the vaccines.
December 15 - January 15 (Phase 1A)
- Frontline healthcare workers
• Long-term Care and Assisted Living Facilities (LTC/ALF)
• Healthcare workers with direct patient contact or virus exposure
January 15 - March 15 (Phase 1B)
- Persons aged 70 years and older
- American Indians and other people of color who may be at elevated risk for COVID-19 complications
- Persons aged 16-69 with high-risk medical conditions. Qualifying medical conditions include:
o Chronic kidney disease
o COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
o Down Syndrome
o Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
o Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
o Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
o Sickle cell disease
o Type 1 & 2 Diabetes mellitus
o On a case by case basis, medical providers may include individuals with other conditions that place them at elevated risk for COVID-19 related complications.
March 15 - July 15 (Phase 1C)
- Frontline Essential Workers
• Persons aged 60 years and older
• Individuals residing in congregate care and correctional facilities
- Persons aged 16-59 with medical conditions not included in phase 1B that may have an elevated-risk of COVID-19 complications, conditions include:
o Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
o Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
o Cystic fibrosis
o Hypertension or high blood pressure
o Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
o Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
o Liver disease
o Overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2, but < 40 kg/m2)
o Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
o Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
July 2021 onward (Phase 2)
- All remaining Montanans aged 16 or older
Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are not being offered to the general public. However, Tribal Health is identifying patients in the prioritized groups and will contact people who are eligible to get the vaccination.
At this time, please note that Tribal Health will contact you if you are in a prioritized group for COVID vaccinations. Please do not call Tribal Health Pharmacy or Medical to ask when you will get a vaccine, but please call with any other questions about the vaccine.
As the vaccine becomes more available to the larger community, Tribal Health will continue to notify the public about who is eligible and how to register for an appointment to get the COVID vaccine.
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:
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.
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’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.
For more information, please visit the Tribal Health website at www.cskthealth.org.