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Dec 11, 2020   |  

Montana Free Press: Tester faults Trump administration for lack of COVID-19 vaccination plan

By: Chris Aadland

Montana Sen. Jon Tester says the Trump administration has failed to produce a national COVID-19 vaccine plan, resulting in unnecessary delays getting the vaccine to the country.

In a letter Monday to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Tester and 44 other Democratic senators urged the federal government to develop a nationwide vaccine strategy. In their letter, the senators noted that only 36% of vaccines so far distributed have been administered, a number they claimed is a consequence of poor communication with states and lack of transparency over distribution data.

"With our health system and economy in crisis, and millions of lives at stake, we cannot afford for this vaccination campaign to continue to be hindered by the lack of planning, communication, and leadership we have seen so far," Tester and his colleagues wrote in the letter. "It is the federal government's role to ensure states, Tribes, localities, and the public are receiving the resources and support they need, rather than requiring every jurisdiction to manage on their own without the benefit of the national resources and perspective that only the federal government can provide."

Tester and his colleagues included a number of recommendations in their letter, including providing guidance for states, local governments and health care providers for vaccine distribution. The senators also suggested the federal government specify how it would help resolve staffing and supply issues at the local level.

As of Jan. 8, Montana has administered more than 33,000 of the 52,000 doses shipped to the state. Another 41,000 doses are expected to arrive in the coming weeks.

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Montana is currently in the first part - phase 1a - of its four-step vaccine plan. Phase 1a includes frontline health care workers, health care workers with patient contact or virus exposure and residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities.

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.


Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768


Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647


Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586


208 North Montana Avenue
Suite 104
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462


8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974


130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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