Missoula County to start phase 1B next week, turn old Lucky's into vaccination site

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Jessi Marcinek, a registered nurse at The Birth Center, gets a COVID-19 vaccination from Heidi Watson, RN-BSN, right, at the Missoula City-County Health Department on Dec. 31.

TOM BAUER, Missoulian Cameron Evans

The Missoula City-County Health Department is on track to begin Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations next week, with senior citizens 70 and older to be the first eligible to receive the vaccine, Missoula County COVID-19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr said on Tuesday.

Missoula County is still in Phase 1A of vaccinations, which focuses on frontline health care workers. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that the state has moved into Phase 1B, which includes Montanans age 70 and older, those 16 and older with a high-risk condition and Native Americans and other people of color.

Earlier this month just after taking office, Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte shuffled the categories in Phase 1B, which had previously included essential workers. Those workers are now in Phase 1C, unless they have a health condition that qualifies them for earlier vaccination, along with those ages 16-69 with a wider range of health conditions.

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