General information regarding the available COVID-19 vaccines is presented in the slides below. For more information, visit the CDC's website on the COVID-19 vaccine or the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services webpage on the current vaccination plan. This page was last updated on March 8, 2021. Use the grey arrows to the right of the content below to scroll to the next page.
How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
- The vaccine works with your immune system to teach it how to recognize and fend off the virus that causes COVID-19, safeguarding you from getting sick with COVID-19. As your body recognizes and defends you against the infection after the vaccine, you avoid the possibility of suffering from severe illness, long-term health effects, or even death. Receiving the vaccine can be lifesaving, since COVID-19 can affect you and those around you differently.
Just how safe is the COVID-19 vaccine?
- Very! Both of the available vaccines have gone through rigorous studies to ensure safety and efficacy. Neither vaccine contains the live virus that causes COVID-19 - this means that the vaccine can NOT and will NOT make you sick with COVID-19.
- After you get the vaccine, it takes the body a few weeks to build protection against the virus. This means that a person could get sick just before or just after getting vaccinated. This is because the vaccine hasn't had enough time to teach the body to recognize and fend of the COVID-19 virus.
The vaccine is an important tool to stop the pandemic.
- Ending a pandemic requires using ALL the tools we have available. This means that once you are vaccinated, you should continue to avoid crowds, wear masks, social distance, and wash your hands frequently.
- Wearing masks and social distancing continue to be important actions to reduce the spread of the virus, however these are not enough on their own. The combination of receiving the vaccine and following the CDC's recommendations will provide the best protection from COVID-19.
For more information, visit the CDC's website on vaccination
There are currently two approved vaccines in the U.S. Introductory information about each vaccine is presented below. Vaccine doses will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccination providers like pharmacies and clinics may be able to charge administration fees for administering the shots. These fees can be reimbursed by providers through a patient's public or private insurance company. In the case of uninsured patients, fees can be reimbursed by the Health Resources and Services Administration's Provider Relief Fund.
- Requires 2 shots - 28 days apart - given in the upper arm
- Determined to be 94% effective in preventing COVID-19 illness in people without evidence of previous infection
- Requires 2 shots - 21 days apart - given in the upper arm
- Determined to be 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 illness in people without evidence of previous infection
Johnson & Johnson's Janssen
- Requires 1 shot - given in the upper arm
- Determined to be 66.3% effective in preventing COVID-19 illness in people without evidence of previous infection
Most Common Side Effects of Vaccines
In the arm where the shot was given
Throughout the rest of the body
These side effects usually begin 2-3 days after vaccination and should go away after a few days.
The information on this page was provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Vaccine in Billings
The current Montana vaccination distribution plan is separated into five phases. Information regarding these phases is presented in the table to the right.
Montana has now moved into Phase 1b+ of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. Individuals in this phase should use the contact information below to check for vaccine availability. Vaccine supply is dependent upon weekly Federal shipments, and appointments fill up quickly. The United Health Command expects to have 3,510 first-dose appointments available for the week of March 8, 2021.
FREE first-dose appointments in Cedar Hall at MetraPark can be made at https://cw2-montana-production.herokuapp.com/ or by calling (406) 651-6596. COVID-19 vaccinations are by appointment only.
Individuals who received their first dose at MetraPark will get their required second dose at the Shrine Auditorium: 1125 Broadwater Avenue starting on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.
More information can be found at covid.riverstonehealth.org