COVID-19 Vaccine

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 May 6, 2021. Use the grey arrows to the right of the content below to scroll to the next page.

Quick Facts

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

Approved Vaccines

There are currently three 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

Moderna

  • 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

Pfizer-BioNTech

  • 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

Pain

Chills

Swelling

Tiredness

Redness

Headache

 

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.  Approximately 33% of the Montana population is fully vaccinated as of May 5, 2021.

Montana has now moved into Phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. 

FREE first-dose walk-in appointments at the Shrine Auditorium (1125 Broadwater Avenue) will be offered on May 12 and 13. Clinic hours for May 12 will be 8am - 12pm AND 1-5pm. Hours for May 13 will be 10am - 2pm AND 3 - 7pm.  

Appointments can be made by calling 406-651-6596 from 9am on May 6 through 5pm on May 7. 

Individuals who received their first dose at the Shrine Auditorium will get their required second dose at the same location.

More information can be found at covid.riverstonehealth.org

Statistics provided by Montana State Library 

PhasePhase Recipients
Phase 1a
  • Frontline healthcare workers
  • Long-Term Care and Assisted Living Facilities 
  • Healthcare workers with direct patient contact or virus exposure
Phase 1b
  • Persons aged 70 years and older
  • American Indians and other people of color who may be at elevated risk for COVID-19 complications
  • Persons aged 16-69 with high-risk medical conditions including: Cancer, down syndrome, sickle cell disease, heart conditions. (For a full list of qualifying medical conditions visit the DPHHS current vaccine distribution recommendations)
Phase 1b+
  • Persons aged 60 years and older
  • Persons aged 16-59 with medical conditions not included in Phase 1b who may be at elevated risk for COVID-19 complications including: Asthma, cystic fibrosis, liver disease. (For a full list of qualifying medical conditions visit the DPHHS current vaccine distribution recommendations)
Phase 1c
  • Frontline essential workers not included in Phase 1b or Phase 1b+
  • Individuals residing in congregate care and correctional facilities not already included in Phase 1b or Phase 1b+
Phase 2
  • All remaining Montanans aged 16 years or older not included in Phase 1a, 1b, 1b+, or 1c