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Local groups are collaborating to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines.

This week, Bozeman Health, Montana State University and Community Health Partners are each vaccinating Gallatin County residents in Phase 1B, which includes adults over 70, those ages 16-69 with specific underlying health conditions, Native Americans and other people of color.

Meanwhile, the Gallatin City-County Health Department is distributing second doses to frontline health care workers, the first vaccine priority group, known as Phase 1A.

The groups’ effort is part of a broader initiative to coordinate distribution of first and second doses, share the workload and expand countywide capacity for vaccine administration, said Patrick Lonergan, Gallatin County’s chief of emergency management.

The groups hope to develop a consistent schedule for which organization will distribute doses when, but the uncertainty of the vaccine supply makes planning difficult, Lonergan said.

This week, Bozeman Health is holding vaccination clinics Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for 1,170 of its 3,345 patients who are over 80, Native Americans or other people of color to receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, said Incident Command Lead Kallie Kujawa.

Bozeman Health identified the patients through its electronic records system and called them directly to schedule appointments at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital or Big Sky Medical Center.

Bozeman Health doesn’t know when it will receive doses to vaccinate additional patients but will notify them once they are available.

“What makes this challenging is that there are limited allocations of doses for our county,” Kujawa said. “We don’t know how many we’ll receive from week-to-week.”

Community Health Partners began immunizing West Yellowstone residents in Phase 1B on Tuesday.

Montana State University is hosting clinics for those in Phase 1B this week.

This week’s distribution is the first time everyone in Phase 1B has had access to the vaccine. Last week, the health department began the phase by focusing on adults over 80.

The decision to expand vaccinations came from a vaccine task force, which includes representatives from local schools, businesses, health care organizations and government agencies.

Even as the county offers vaccines to those in Phase 1B, individuals in Phase 1A who have not yet been immunized can still request doses.

For now, the county expects to receive about 1,300 first doses each week, along with second doses for those who have already gotten their first dose, Lonergan said.

On Tuesday, Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte announced that he is redistributing 19,500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine that CVS and Walgreens didn’t use while vaccinating residents and staff of long-term care and assisted living facilities.

The reallocation could mean Gallatin County will receive additional doses, but Lonergan said the county doesn’t yet know how many it will receive or when they might arrive. He added that the county will distribute the doses as soon as they are available.

By Wednesday, 55,845 Montanans had received a first dose of the vaccine, while 30,137 had received both doses.

The state Department of Public Health and Human Services announced Wednesday that next week Montana will receive 16,425 first doses and 14,525 second doses, which will be distributed to counties based on factors including population and the number of residents eligible in Phase 1B.

“While the current supply the state receives each week from the federal government isn’t keeping up with the demand in Montana, the state is one of the best in the nation in administering the vaccine to its citizens,” said Director Adam Meier in a news release.

As more people receive the vaccine, the state continues to add COVID-19 cases.

On Wednesday, the state reported 3,421 active cases with 121 active hospitalizations. A total of 90,986 residents had recovered from the disease and 1,303 had died.

Gallatin County had 31 active cases with eight hospitalizations. The county also announced another COVID-19 death on Wednesday, bringing the total to 48.

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Perrin Stein can be reached at or at 582-2648.