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Phone-in COVID vaccine sign-up process launched in Cascade County

COVID Vaccine
Posted at 12:52 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 11:05:10-05

GREAT FALLS — The Cascade City-County Health Department in Great Falls announced on Tuesday that a phone-in COVID-19 vaccination registration process is now available for people aged 70 or older who are not able to use the online portal at www.benefis.org/covidvaccine.

A dedicated phone line has been set up so that community members can call to be placed on the list. The number is 406-791-9250. The CCHD says they will begin logging messages left after 9 a.m. on Thursday, January 28. They also note that it is not a CCHD number and staff members can not transfer people to this line.

Due to very high call volume and limited staff, this will be a voicemail-only line. All messages are time-stamped and will be checked and logged throughout the day, but callers should not expect a return call until someone calls to schedule their appointment. Like the online portal, the phone line is first-come, first-served. They ask that people do not leave numerous messages on the vaccination list line.

Callers must leave the following information in their message and should take care to speak clearly and slowly; the CCHD stressed in a news release that this information must be included in order for the caller to be placed on the list.

  • Name
  • Date of birth (MM/DD/YYYY)
  • Phone
  • Address

The CCHD explained that each week, when Cascade County healthcare partners Benefis Health System, Alluvion Health, and Great Falls Clinic learn how much vaccine has been allocated by the state for the following week’s vaccination clinics at the ExpoPark, a certain number of slots will be reserved for people on the vaccination list. This ensures that people who are unable to schedule using the online portal will be able to access some of the open slots. However, the public should be aware that a higher proportion of slots are available via the online portal, and individuals have a greater chance of getting an appointment using the online portal than the phone line.

If people want to be placed on the waiting list and do have access to the Internet, or if they prefer a method where they can confirm that their information was received, they can email their information to vaccine@cascadecountymt.gov instead of leaving a voicemail. Each email must include name, date of birth, phone number, and address. They will receive an auto-reply message confirming that their email was received.

LATEST: Here is the latest information on COVID-19 in Montana, as of the morning of Wednesday, January 27, 2021:

  • Total Cases: 92,962
  • Active Cases: 4,162
  • Deaths: 1,202
  • Recoveries: 85,598
  • Currently Hospitalized: 118
  • Cumulative Hospitalizations: 4,177
  • # of Montanans fully immunized: 18,686
  • # of vaccine doses given: 86,197
    • (two shots required for full immunization)

The Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services on Monday launched a new feature on the state COVID website to report the number of vaccinations administered; the data is presented for each of Montana's 56 counties. As of Monday morning, according to the dashboard, a total of 77,739 doses have been administered across Montana, and the number of Montanans who have been fully immunized (received both doses) is 14,704.

REMINDER: scheduling for the next round of appointment slots will open at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28. These slots will be for appointments on Monday, February 1; Wednesday, February 3; and Friday, February 5. Slots are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis and fill extremely quickly, so community members who are eligible should go to www.Benefis.org/COVIDvaccine immediately at 9 a.m. on Thursday in order to secure their slots. Vaccinations are done at a walk-in clinic at Montana ExpoPark’s Family Living Center, 400 3rd Street NW, in Great Falls.

The CCHD thanked community members for their patience in this trying time, where demand for the COVID-19 vaccine far outstrips supply. According to state data, more than 10,000 people aged 70 or older live in Cascade County, and they anticipate a vaccine allocation of 1,000 to 1,500 doses per week from the state. Another 16,000 people aged 16-69 with Tier 1-B qualifying health conditions live in Cascade County. Montana is currently working with a very limited supply of vaccine and understands that Cascade County can handle more vaccine than State & Federal governments can currently provide. The State continues to advocate for more vaccine and vaccination efforts will scale up quickly if more vaccine becomes available.