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Gallatin County is offering a limited number of appointments for residents to receive a COVID-19 vaccine next week.

The county will open an online registration form at noon on Friday for a clinic that will take place Tuesday at the fairgrounds in Bozeman.

A link to the online scheduling form will be shared through the county’s social media pages, the health department website, healthygallatin.org, and via the county’s vaccine notification emails and text messages.

The clinic is only open to those in Phase 1B — adults 70 years or older, those with certain underlying health conditions and people of color — and Phase 1A — health care workers, first responders and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

This is the first time the county has opened vaccine appointments to the public.

Given the limited vaccine supply and the high demand for vaccinations, it is likely appointment slots will fill quickly, but the county plans to regularly schedule public appointments going forward, said spokesperson Whitney Bermes.

The county doesn’t yet know when additional appointment slots will be opened because they are dependent on how many doses the county receives.

Even as the county opens public vaccination clinics, the Gallatin City-County Health Department, Bozeman Health, Montana State University and Community Health Partners continue to reach people directly to schedule appointments.

National pharmacy chains are also continuing to visit local long-term care and assisted living facilities to vaccinate residents and staff.

“We are continuing to work with local organizations such as non-Bozeman Health health care clinics and nonprofits to get eligible people signed up — especially those without access to technology to use a public sign-up system like this,” Bermes said. “This is just one more door we are using to get eligible people vaccinated.”

For now, Gallatin County anticipates receiving about 1,300 first doses each week along with the second doses for those who previously received an initial dose.

The state determines the number distributed based on several factors including a county’s population and the number of residents in the current phase.

“We don’t have nearly enough to satisfy the demand,” said Health Officer Matt Kelley. “…It’s very difficult when we don’t know how much vaccine we’re getting to schedule clinics. Everybody wants to know: When can I get the vaccine and where can I get the vaccine. We don’t have the capacity to give most people the answer to that question.”

In Park County, to help answer residents’ vaccine questions, the health department has launched a vaccine website, which includes information about who is eligible and which local health care organizations are offering vaccinations.

“The goal in creating this website is to have a centralized location where the community can find out information about vaccine availability in our communities,” said Health Officer Dr. Laurel Desnick in a news release.

In Madison County, Madison Valley Medical Center and Ruby Valley Medical Center continue to contact residents in Phase 1B as doses become available. Those eligible in 1B can call the medical centers to get on their waitlists.

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Perrin Stein can be reached at pstein@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2648.