HAVRE - On Thursday, Feb. 18, 240 veterans in the Havre area will get their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine after it is flown in from Fort Harrison.
The first doses were administered to the veterans on Jan. 21, and just like the first doses, the second doses will be flown in Thursday morning via fixed-wing aircraft from Fort Harrison’s on-site freezer to the vaccine clinic in Havre's Holiday Village Mall.
Doses are able to be provided to rural veterans via fixed-wing aircraft the Montana VA Health Care System (MTVAHCS) says.
According to the MTVAHCS, the program has brought 400 first doses to Kalispell Veterans to date and will bring about 200 first doses to Lewistown Veterans on Feb. 24.
More than 4,200 first doses of the Moderna vaccine have been provided by MTVAHCS to enrolled Montana veterans, and 23 vaccine clinics for veterans have been held at nine locations across the state.
“One year ago, Montanans across the state were grappling with what COVID-19 would look like, and how it would impact our communities,” said MTVAHCS Executive Director Dr. Judy Hayman. “The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines means that we can finally aggressively fight back against the virus to keep our loved ones and communities safe. It has been uplifting to see Veterans’ relief and joy in being able to get the vaccine and we are grateful we get to celebrate with each Veteran who receives the full protection of their second dose!”
MTVAHCS says they will continue to hold vaccination events around the state and will do so until all enrolled veterans who want to receive a COVID-19 vaccine are immunized.
Enrolled veterans do not need to contact MTVAHCS or their local clinic to make a vaccine appointment.
All eligible veterans will be contacted based on risk stratifications and vaccine allocations, MTVAHCS staff will call each Veteran to schedule an appointment.
High-risk veterans will be called first to schedule vaccine appointments.
High-risk veterans are identified as persons 75 years or older and any veteran who has a medical condition that may put them at increased risk based on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) risk criteria and VHA guidance.
The MTVAHCS says if a Montana veteran is not enrolled in VHA healthcare, they are encouraged to call (877) 468-8387 and select Option 4 to find out if they are eligible. Unenrolled Veterans are encouraged to call as soon as possible.