CCHD opens scheduling for 3rd COVID vaccine dose

The Cascade County City-County Health Department is now offering third doses or booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new recommendations for certain persons to receive a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

CCHD is offering a third vaccine dose once at least 28 days have elapsed since the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those with moderately or severely compromised immune systems.

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Those who meet one of the following criteria are eligible, according to CCHD:

  • Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies
  • Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
  • Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within two years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥ 20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory

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Additionally, a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, at least 6 months after completion of the primary two-dose series, is available to the following:

  • People 65 years and older
  • Residents in long-term care settings
  • People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions (see below)
  • People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions (see below), based on their individual benefits and risks
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting

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The CDC has identified the following underlying medical conditions that may increase the risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic lung diseases, including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma (moderate-to-severe), interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary hypertension
  • Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other neurological conditions
  • Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
  • Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension
  • HIV
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)
  • Liver disease
  • Obesity or overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy or recent pregnancy (42 days following the end of pregnancy)
  • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
  • Smoking, current or former
  • Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
  • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease which affects blood flow to the brain
  • Substance use disorders, such as alcohol, opioid, or cocaine use disorder

Those who are eligible should go to https://www.mtreadyclinic.org/ to schedule a third dose or booster dose, or email CCHD at vaccine@cascadecountymt.gov with your name, date of birth, address, phone number and any relevant health conditions.

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If you do not have access to a computer or internet, call CCHD at 406-791-9250 and leave a voicemail with the same information and a CCHD representative will contact you to schedule. Scheduling online is preferred to prevent overloading the phone line.

Additional doses or boosters of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine have not been approved at this time, and you should not “mix and match” vaccines from different manufacturers, according to CCHD.

If you are unsure whether you are eligible for a third dose or booster dose, CCHD asks that you discuss with your physician or other healthcare provider before scheduling an appointment.

As of Oct. 4, there have been 68,853 doses of the COVID vaccine administered in Cascade County and 33,662, or 49 percent of the eligible population, are fully immunized, according to state data.

On Oct. 4, Cascade County added 146 new cases, according to the state dashboard. Of those 992 are listed as active and the cumulative total is 13,345.

As of Oct. 1, there were 150 active cases within Great Falls Public Schools.

CCHD provided the age breakdown of COVID hospitalization from Aug. 1 to Sept. 1 to The Electric and they are:

0-19

1

20-29

13

30-39

19

40-49

29

50-59

39

60-69

45

70-79

41

80-89

20

90-99

10

TOTAL

217