Numbers released on Friday by the Missoula County COVID 19 Vaccination Team show it’s efficiency even outperforms the State of Montana DPHHS.

Public Information Director Nick Holloway has details.

“We ran some numbers today,” said Holloway. ‘This is the first opportunity we've had to look at this, but we are delivering vaccine with almost a 98% efficiency rate, so that means the vaccine is going out from the storage to arms very quickly and thoroughly.”

Holloway referenced a term called ‘orphan doses’, in which someone scheduled for a second dose doesn’t show up, and the dose goes to someone else.

“We're working hard to make sure that we get it out there and that no vaccine is sitting in a closet somewhere,” he said. “We're getting it out there quickly. This creates an orphan dose sometimes, where a person comes in for the first dose, but doesn’t show up for their second dose, and then we need to find a place for that dose, so it goes into another arm.”

Holloway confirmed that Missoula does have a small number of the Johnson and Johnson vaccines, but that it doesn’t matter which vaccine a patient receives.

“J & J is in town,” he said. “We got a shipment of 900 doses of J & J earlier this week, and those have been disseminated to our partners throughout the community to give vaccinations to residents. It doesn't matter which one you get. In fact, you should get the first one that's offered to you. It doesn't matter if it's Johnson and Johnson, Moderna or Pfizer. Just get that first vaccine that's offered to you, that is,  if you're inclined to get vaccinated.”

Holloway emphasized the fact that vaccinations are the key to eventual herd immunity to the COVID 19 virus.

“The sooner we can get more people vaccinated, the sooner we will reach herd immunity,” he said. “And once we reach herd immunity, the economy will be able to open up much more safely, not that it isn’t opening now, but we can ensure more safety once we reach herd immunity, and to get there we need people to get vaccinated as rapidly as possible.”

A press release from Governor Gianforte’s office stated : ‘Today, the total number of Montanans fully immunized against COVID-19 surpassed the total number of infections since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

“This encouraging milestone is a testament to the tireless efforts of our health care workers who are administering these safe, effective vaccines. It’s also a testament to Montanans who have taken steps to protect themselves, their families, and their neighbors from the spread of the virus,” Governor Gianforte said. “We’ll keep up our efforts as the light at the end of the tunnel shines more brightly with each passing day.”

The total number of Montanans fully immunized as of this morning is 105,977, while total infections to date are 100,656.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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