GREAT FALLS — On Monday, the federal Food & Drug Administration issued full approval to the Pfizer vaccine. While the Pfizer vaccine has been widely available to all Americans older than 12 for the last few months, it was only available under an emergency use authorization order; click here for details.
Alluvion Health in Great Falls has been offering free clinics to the public since the vaccine was made available and has been expecting the approval to come for some time, and now that it is here, they hope to see numbers increase.
Trixie Smith is the Prevention Services Manager for Alluvion and says they have been busy with their clinics and hope to keep going at that rate. She says the approval didn’t change any functional aspects of their clinics but are glad they have a fully approved vaccine to offer the public: “I think we had confidence in the vaccine with the emergency use authorization but now that Pfizer has FDA approval, the general public has a little bit more confidence in the safety of the vaccine.”
An estimated 50 percent of eligible Montana residents have now been vaccinated, with 456,726 Montanans now considered fully vaccinated. Smith says that the FDA approval will likely soon be reflected by an increased vaccination rate across the state.
There were 652 new COVID-19 cases reported within the last 72 hours in Montana, with 3,784 total active cases in the state as of Monday.
There were five new deaths reported; the total number of Montanans who have died due to COVID is now 1,760, according to the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services (DPHHS). The number of people currently hospitalized due to COVID is 220, up 20 from Friday. The cumulative number of hospitalizations in Montana due to the virus is 6,154. To date, roughly 1 in 20 (5.0%) reported COVID cases in the state have resulted in a hospitalization.
There have been 122,964 cumulative cases of COVID in Montana. The cumulative number of recoveries is now 117,420. The total number of COVID tests administered in Montana is 1,584,795.
Here are the five counties with the most active cases as of August 23:
- Flathead County: 98 New; 752 Active
- Cascade County: 51 New; 661 Active
- Yellowstone County: 77 New; 497 Active
- Missoula County: 96 New; 412 Active
- Lewis & Clark County: 83 New; 230 Active
An estimated 50 percent of eligible Montana residents have now been vaccinated, with 456,726 Montanans now considered fully vaccinated. The total number of doses administered is 934,379. In the last three days, 9,068 doses were administered. If you want to get vaccinated, contact your county health department, or click here.
The information above is from the DPHHS website and is current as of Monday, August 23, 2021. DPHHS reporting at this point does not include data on whether new cases occurred among vaccinated or unvaccinated people.
DPHHS director Adam Meier said earlier this month that hospitalization data from June 5 to July 30 shows that 89% of Montanans who were hospitalized due to COVID had not received the COVID vaccine. The data includes 358 hospitalizations of Montanans during this time frame. The hospitalizations included an age range from 1 to 97, with a median age of 64.
“This data illustrates just how effective the COVID-19 vaccine is in preventing serious illness when you consider how far we’ve come since the vaccine first became available,” Meier said. “The data is also a reminder of how important it is to get vaccinated. This is now a vaccine-preventable disease, and the last thing we want to see are more cases and hospitalizations. The COVID-19 vaccine is the best tool we have to prevent serious illness and hospitalization. The fall and winter months are just around the corner. Now is the time to get the vaccine.”