MTN News: Tester discusses vaccine progress in Montana and Gallatin County

by Annie Johnson

BOZEMAN – We’re days away from April 1, the date when vaccines are scheduled to be available to all Montana residents over the age of 16. But with a current shortage now, it raises the question: is this realistic?

U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) told MTN News he thinks there will continue to be more doses coming for Montanans, and in the meantime, the state needs to keep moving forward vaccinating as many residents as possible.

“Look, I applaud the efforts. I think the goal is to get everyone vaccinated, and I think Gallatin County will do that and they’ll have the ability to do that moving forward,” Tester said. “But if there’s vaccines available, they shouldn’t be sitting on a shelf or sitting in a freezer. We should get them into people’s arms sooner rather than later, and I think the governor made a good decision on that.”

Sen. Tester said Montana is in better shape with an additional allocation of vaccine doses on the way this week, and he’ll continue working to continue that trend.

“I think we’re in a lot better shape right now than we were, but we can always do more and we’re going to be pushing folks to do more,” he said.

Montana is getting a total of 34,050 doses for this week, which is 7,240 more than the week before.

“The increase from basically 27,000 to 34,000 is a pretty significant increase in doses, and I think we’re going to see that again the week after. I think we’re going to see another increase in doses,” said Tester.

Until hopefully there’s more than enough.

“We’re going to continue to push every single day until we get so many vaccines that there’s more vaccines than arms to put them in, and that will happen,” Tester said.

“I’m very, very proud of Gallatin County that they’re aggressively approaching the vaccines, and hopefully the Department of Health and Human Services will give them additional vaccines because of that,” he added.

According to the most current available state data, Gallatin County has 12,974 people fully vaccinated out of a population of more than 100,000.