CCHD opens waiting list for those 70 to call, email any time

Cascade County City-County Health Department said Jan. 29 that more than 8,000 calls came into the COVID-19 vaccination line on Jan. 28 before 11:30 a.m.

The dedicated vaccine line had gone down Thursday morning but was fixed and CCHD said that anyone who encounters an error message or a busy signal should hang up and call again later.

The vaccine line is 406-791-9250.

CCHD opening phone line for COVID-19 vaccination list

“They should not call other county departments when trying to get through, since they are unable to transfer calls to this line. Other health care agencies are also unable to transfer calls. At this time, the vaccination list phone line and email will remain open at all hours and people do not have to wait for scheduled times to join the waiting list. Please be aware that you will not receive a call back indicating that we received your message. We will call you once your name is at the top of the list and we are ready to schedule your appointment,” according to CCHD.

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As of 4 p.m. Jan. 28, CCHD had received more than 700 emails in the new vaccine@cascadecountymt.gov inbox.

More than 1,000 people scheduled to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine next week, according to CCHD.

Vaccinations are administered at recurring walk-in clinics at Montana ExpoPark’s Family Living Center, 400 3rd St. N.W.

“We ask for our residents’ patience as we carefully log each voicemail and email in the list,” according to CCHD.

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In Cascade County, 4,792 people have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and an additional 1,099 individuals are fully immunized, for a total of 5,891 total doses administered, according to the state vaccine dashboard.

About 9,000 more people aged 70+ are eligible for vaccination, just part of a total 64,953 people eligible in Cascade County.

“Obviously, this is a great number of people to vaccinate, and at this rate it will take us some time to get enough doses to give to everyone who wishes to receive the vaccine. Currently, our county is allocated between 1,000 and 1,500 doses per week, and we are not able to get more due to limited supply statewide,” according to CCHD.

Gov. Greg Gianforte said during a Jan. 29 press briefing that nearly 100,000 total doses have been administered and about 25,000 people had been fully immunized statewide.

He said that the state needs more vaccine supply from the federal government and that the state ranks 45th in terms of number of doses per capita.

Dr. Greg Holzman, the state medical officer at DPHHS, said during the press briefing that the state will be receiving about 15,000 first doses and 6,000 second doses next week.

“We don’t have the supply to meet the demand,” Holzman said.

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On Jan. 29, Cascade County added 34 new cases and has 393 current active cases. The state map is showing a total of 7,258, but that number has been static most of this week and may not have been updated.

CCHD said that people do not need to put themselves on the waitlist if they’ve already scheduled an appointment through the online portal. Creating duplicate entries slows the process.

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If anyone is unable to leave a voicemail on the vaccination phone list, they can send their information to vaccine@cascadecountymt.gov, but community members are asked not to do both since it will create duplicate entries. The email should kick back an auto-reply, confirming that CCHD has received your email. If it doesn’t wait a few minutes, check spam filters and check that you emailed the correct account, according to CCHD.

“We thank the public for the feedback we have received over the last weeks and want to assure you that we are incorporating it whenever possible. Appointment slots will open on a weekly basis and we are confident that as time goes on, the process of scheduling COVID-19 vaccination will enable us to serve our residents in an increasingly smooth and efficient manner,” according to CCHD.

When leaving a voicemail or sending an email to be placed on the waiting list, the following email must be included to be placed on the list and callers are asked to speak clearly and slowly:

  1. Name
  2. Date of birth (MM/DD/YYYY)
  3. Phone
  4. Address