The Montana Department of Corrections announced today that 110 inmates at the state prison, who were eligible in Phase 1B of the state's COVID-19 vaccination plan, were immunized on Tuesday (2/9).

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According to the press release, the Clinical Services team at the Department of Corrections "evaluated MSP inmates who qualified for Phase 1B" over the past few weeks, and are working closely with DPHHS to "coordinate vaccine distribution to other DOC secure facilities."

It’s critical to get shots into the arms of Montana’s most vulnerable populations, and many of those Montanans are located in our prison system. We are pleased to have the opportunity to help the folks most at risk in our secure facilities with this first batch of vaccinations at the Montana State Prison. -Brian Gootkin, Director of the Montana Department of Corrections

The process to vaccinate inmates was a "smooth," according to Cindy Hiner, DOC Clinical Services Division Bureau Chief. "We are thrilled that we were able to begin the vaccination process for inmates at Montana State Prison," said Hiner.

Credit: Tim Gray

According to the press release from the Montana DOC, the criteria for inmates to receive the vaccine in Phase 1B includes:

  • American Indians and other people of color who may be at elevated risk for COVID-19 complications,
  • offenders over the age of 70,
  • those with chronic medical conditions.

Governor Greg Gianforte received federal approval last week to redirect more than 19,000 unused vaccinations from Pfizer to vulnerable Montanans. According to the press release, 149,263 total doses had been administered in Montana as of today (2/10).

Credit: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

According to the press release, Governor Gianforte has requested additional doses of the vaccine from the federal government.

CLICK HERE to see the press release from the Montana Department of Corrections.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.