Vaccine appointments still available in Cascade County, everyone over 16 eligible

Cascade County opened appointments to all residents 16 and older to schedule their first COVID-19 vaccine doses.

As of Friday afternoon, only about 40 percent of those appointments had been filled, according to an email from Benefis Health System.

“Next week is the last week for community clinic appointments. After that, the vaccine will be available at local pharmacies,” according to Benefis’ email.

Residents can schedule an appointment at the online portal here for appointments next week.

Next round of vaccine appointments opens April 1

According to Whitney Bania, spokeswoman for Benefis, the community clinic was “always meant to be temporary until distribution was streamlined, and now there is enough availability in the community with established locations like CVS and Walmart.”

As of March 29, there have been 33,065 doses of the vaccine administered in Cascade County and 12,235 people are fully immunized, according to the state dashboard.

As of April 2, there were 8,454 total COVID-19 cases in the county and of those 42 are currently active, according to the state dashboard.

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Some employers are starting to require vaccinations for employees, including Benefis.

“Yes, Benefis is requiring the COVID-19 vaccine starting May 1. All employees will receive their second dose by July 1,” vania told The Electric.

Deferral requests will be considered until May 1 for medical, medical delay or religious reasons, Bania told The Electric.

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“The reasoning, as explained to all employees, is that our patients deserve to know they are receiving care in the safest manner possible,” Bania said. “Employees should ask HR about any concerns they have about the policy.”