Felton: 24% of Yellowstone County residents fully vaccinated

Goal is to reach at least 75% to "get back to normal"
Posted at 5:37 PM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 19:37:01-04

BILLINGS - Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton said Thursday that 24 percent of county residents are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but warned the county has a long way to go before reaching the goal of a vaccination rate of at least 75 percent.

During a press conference at RiverStone Health, Felton described the county's declining rate of coronavirus cases during the month of March, including the fewest number of hospitalizations and deaths in recent months.

Felton also disclosed that if you received your second COVID-19 vaccine dose Wednesday morning at the Shrine Auditorium in Billings you might have got shorted.

Felton announced a mistake Wednesday morning at the clinic potentially impacting 90 to 100 people who received their doses in that timeframe.

Felton says it’s more likely about 10 individuals did not get their full dose.

The Unified Heath Command has not heard back yet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to proceed, but health officials are reaching out to the individuals potentially impacted.

He did say, the first dose of Covid-19 Vaccine does create about 80% immunity for people.

If you received your second vaccine between 8:00 am and 8:45 am Wednesday at the Shrine Auditorium on Broadwater Avenue, you should expect a call from RiverStone Health before end of day Friday.

If you received your second dose at the Shrine between that timeframe and you do not receive a call, you can call 651-6409, or send an email to shrinevax@riverstonehealth.

Felton said, the pharmacist who drew the incorrect dose is employed by NuWest Health Care and is no longer working at the vaccine clinic.

Felton also says the Unified Health Command is now reviewing its contract with NuWest.

The County Health Officer did deliver some good news during the Thursday press conference.

Felton says so far Yellowstone County has not detected any cases of Covid-19 variant in the community and as of Monday more than 24% of Yellowstone County residents had been fully vaccinated.

That equates to about 31,000 residents.

Experts say to reach community protection, between 70 and 85% of county must be fully vaccinated.

And as of 2:00 pm Thursday you can go to to schedule a first vaccine appointment at MetraPark for next week.

During the month of March, there 468 county residents who tested positive for the virus, Felton said. That is down from the 758 positive cases in February, and 1,511 in January.

Deaths from the virus also declined in March. Felton said 8 people died due to COVID-19 during the month, the fewest number of deaths since June 2020.

Hospitalizations in March followed a similar decline. Felton said St. Vincent Healthcare and Billings Clinic together treated a total of 36 in-patients for the virus during the month. The hospitals treated 53 people for the virus in February and 106 in January, he said.

Watch the full press conference in the video below:

Felton: 24% of Yellowstone County residents fully vaccinated