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Gallatin County will start vaccinating people who fall into the next phase of the immunization plan next week.

Health Officer Matt Kelley said Friday that the county expects to receive 1,000 doses of the vaccine next week. Some of those will be used for those remaining in the first vaccination phase, which included frontline healthcare workers, Kelley said. They will then start with those in the 1B phase, Kelley said, which includes people over 70, those 16-69 with some health conditions and at-risk Native Americans and people of color.

The county will dispense the vaccine at their facilities at the fairgrounds. Patience will be needed, Kelley said.

“The fundamental problem we have is that we don’t have enough vaccine,” Kelley said. “It’s fine for Helena to say we’re in phase 1B, but everyone needs to understand we don’t have enough vaccine to meet the demand for everybody in that group. It’s not even close.”

The county estimates there are about 35,150 residents in the 1B category, with 9,300 residents over the age of 70.

Gallatin County has been working with the state on vaccine distribution. Kelley said they’ve been told to expect 1,300 vaccine allocations in Gallatin County per week until the overall supply chain catches up.

Gallatin County will prioritize residents 80 and older, Native Americans and other people of color initially within phase 1B, according to a press release.

During a press conference Friday, Gov. Greg Gianforte said they’ve been told by federal officials to expect the state to receive 13,500 first doses of the vaccine each week at a minimum, along with the required number of second doses.

That number is expected to rise as supply increases, Gianforte said.

“We’re ready and prepared to administer more vaccinations, we just need more doses,” Gianforte said. “We will continue to ask for as many doses as we can get.”

As health officials await vaccine doses, Kelley said they are continuing to prepare for more widespread immunizations.

The planning process is complicated, Kelley said, with multiple types of vaccine that need to be administered twice at specific intervals, combined with the need to follow health guidelines at vaccination sites

“It’s not just as simple as calling people to make a big line at the fairgrounds and jabbing them in the arm one at one at a time,” Kelley said.

On Friday, the county announced a notification system for residents for the vaccines.

The notification system will not be used to sign up for a vaccination appointment, according to a press release, but will provide information on what phase the county is in and who is eligible, as well as how eligible people can register for a vaccine.

Kelley said the goal is to alleviate some of the uncertainty surrounding vaccine distribution.

“What we’re trying to do with this is make sure that people have a way to have some confidence that they know what’s going on, that they don’t have to worry about falling behind,” Kelley said.

Signing up for the notifications is not required to receive a vaccine, Kelley emphasized.

People can sign up by texting 888777 with one of the following: “Phase1b” “Phase1c” or “Phase2” to receive information on distribution plans.

For email, people can send a blank email to one of the following: 1b+subscribe@apps.gcem.us, 1c+subscribe@apps.gcem.us, or 2+subscribe@apps.gcem.us.

County spokesperson Whitney Bermes said they will use other means to reach people with vaccine information, particularly those in phase 1B who may not have access to technology. Bozeman Health spokesperson Lauren Brendel said they anticipate they will begin calling patients who fall into the phase 1B category next week.

Bozeman Health hasn’t been told how many doses they will receive on a weekly basis, Brendel said, but they hope to start phase 1B vaccinations in early February.

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Nora Shelly can be reached at nshelly@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2607.