HELENA — The Montana VA Health Care System partnered with the Montana Army National Guard to conduct its largest COVID-19 vaccination clinic to date on Saturday; it was held at the National Guard's Aviation Readiness Center near the Helena airport.
One-thousand Moderna vaccines were available during the event for military veterans. This was a vaccine clinic for any enrolled veteran, no matter their health status or age.
Vets were able to secure appointments for the vaccine all week, but the VA allowed vets without appointments to walk-in and receive the vaccine during a four-hour timeframe (1:00 - 4:00 p.m.).
It wasn’t only veterans to receive their first dose on March 20th. Educators and childcare providers were also eligible to receive the vaccine (under federal vaccine eligibility guidelines) through the Helena Indian Alliance (HIA). They secured 500 Moderna vaccines from the federal Indian Health Services (IHS) after reaching out to them for support.
Lewis & Clark Public Health said in a news release:
“Throughout the response to the pandemic, the HIA and IHS have been strong partners of Lewis and Clark County and our local Unified Health Command working not only to protect the local American Indian population but also our communities at large. They recognize the importance of vaccinating local teachers and childcare providers in the ongoing effort to bring the community back to a state of normalcy and strengthen our community’s ongoing resiliency in the fight to end the pandemic. Because educators as a group are not yet eligible for state/local allocated vaccines, the local Unified Health Command reached out to HIA and IHS and they fully supported the effort to vaccinate our local teachers and childcare providers with 500 doses of their federally allocated Moderna vaccine.”
Congress has passed bipartisan legislation that will allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to any veterans along with their spouses, caregivers, and more.
The bill is now headed to President Biden’s desk with the hope that he will sign it into law the week of March 22nd.