Updated 4/12/21 at 9:30AM
Contact CCHD at 406-791-9250 or [email protected] to schedule a vaccination appointment!
COVID-19 vaccinations are offered every Friday at the CCHD facility in downtown Great Falls. Vaccinations are by appointment only.
Due to the temporary suspension of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccinations as recommended by the CDC and FDA, only the Moderna vaccine is available at CCHD at this time. Please ensure that you will be available for the second dose 28 days after your first dose.
All individuals age 16+
All individuals age 16+ are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in Cascade County. No health conditions or serious illnesses are required for eligibility.
Parental consent is required for those under the age of 18.
*Only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is available to persons aged 16 or 17. CCHD is not providing Pfizer vaccinations currently, but it is available through other local providers.
Discontinuation of community vaccination clinics at the Montana ExpoPark:
If you have already received your first vaccination at the Montana ExpoPark (fairgrounds), you will still receive your second dose there on the date communicated to you. However, no new appointments will be made for first doses at the ExpoPark.
Other options for vaccination:
Vaccination may also be available through:
- Malmstrom Air Force Base or the VA
- Indian Family Health Clinic
- Pharmacies such as Osco (Albertsons), Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Sam's Club, Smith's, Public Drug, or Big Sky Managed Care
- Other local healthcare providers such as Benefis, the Great Falls Clinic, or Alluvion Health
Check the VaccineFinder website for an updated list of locations offering vaccinations!
What's going on with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
As of April 13, 2021, the administration of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine has been paused in the State of Montana. This decision was made by the Montana DPHHS following recommendations from the CDC and FDA. There have been 6 cases of a rare type of blood clot in women receiving the J&J vaccine in the United States (out of 6.8 million J&J vaccinations given in the US) . Out of an abundance of caution, the CDC and FDA are recommending that further J&J vaccinations be suspended until further review of those cases can be conducted. The CDC is convening a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on April 14 to analyze those cases and their potential significance. Further J&J vaccinations have been suspended in Montana pending that analysis.
So far, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within 3 weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. Health care providers are asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Reporting System here.
The FAQ information below may be modified to account for this recent development as we know more about this situation.
Who can get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Vaccinations through the City-County Health Department are currently available to all Cascade County residents age 18+. In the future, we may offer vaccination to persons age 16-17, depending on Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine availability or the approval of other vaccines for persons under the age of 18.
Vaccinations through other third parties, such as local pharmacies, may have different eligibility criteria, and may have Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for persons age 16-17.
Is there a cost for the vaccine?
There is no fee for the vaccine itself. If you are covered by health insurance, we may bill an administration fee to your insurer to cover some of the costs of providing the vaccination to you. If you do not have health insurance, or if your insurer does not cover the administration fee, you will still receive your vaccination at no charge.
Private pharmacies or health care providers may also charge a vaccine administration fee or a fee for the vaccine itself.
What should I bring with me to my appointment?
Please bring a government-issued photo ID (driver's license, passport, etc.) and your insurance card, if possible.
Please do not use acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) prior to your appointment. You may take medication after your vaccination.
How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?
All three vaccines with EUA approval in the United States are highly effective, particularly at preventing severe symptoms or death. Approximate efficacy rates are provided below (rates vary slightly in different trials conducted at different times or sampling different populations).
|Prevention of mild or moderate symptoms||Prevention of severe symptoms (without hospitalization) or death||Prevention of severe symptoms (with hospitalization) or death|
|Pfizer-BioNTech||95%||Not reported||Not reported|
|Johnson & Johnson||66%||85%||100%|
What are the most common side effects of vaccination?
It is common to experience minor side effects after vaccination. The most common reported side effects are:
- swelling, redness, and pain at the injection site
- muscle pain
Are there any long-term side effects?
If I get a two-dose vaccine, how do I schedule my second shot?
After my first vaccine, can I get a second vaccine from a different manufacturer?
If I got the flu vaccine, can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m not feeling well?
If you aren’t feeling well, it is recommended that you wait until you’re feeling better to get the vaccine.
How long will my COVID-19 immunity last after vaccination?
It is unknown at this time how long immunity will last; ongoing studies will help determine if repeat vaccination is needed, and if it is, how often we may need a booster.
Will I need to continue wearing a mask and practicing social distancing after getting the vaccine?
Yes. No vaccine is 100% effective, and the CDC recommends that everyone continues using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, such as covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, staying at least six feet away from others, following CDC travel guidance, following quarantine guidance after an exposure to someone with COVID-19, and following any applicable workplace or school guidance. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations on how to protect yourself and others, offers the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.
Experts need to understand more about the protection from being contagious that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. We know it significantly reduces symptomatic and severe disease, but not whether it completely protects from infecting others. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.
Do I still need to get vaccinated if I already had COVID-19 and recovered?
If you have been positive for COVID-19 and/or are not currently in the isolation period, you may wait 90 days after infection to take the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC suggests reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection and thus persons with documented acute infection in the preceding 90 days may defer vaccination until the end of this period, if desired.
However, you are not required to wait 90 days after recovery. You may be vaccinated once you are released from isolation by your local health department.
If I wear a mask and social distance, do I need the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. Although mask wearing and social distancing are important to limit exposure to COVID-19, the vaccine will help protect you from serious illness if you become infected. The combination of getting vaccinated and following guidelines, such as mask wearing and social distancing, offer the best protection for you and can help prevent spread to others.
Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant?
The CDC's current guidance is that it is very unlikely any of the approved COVID-19 vaccines would pose any specific risk to pregnant women. You can read more here. However, we recommend that you discuss vaccination with your physician beforehand. Also, the medical professional administering your vaccination may request to speak with your physician before giving you your vaccine, to confirm their recommendations - you may wish to get written confirmation from your physician to bring with you to your vaccination appointment to save time.
How do the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work?
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. mRNA vaccines contain instructions for our cells to make a certain protein that is also present on the surface of a coronavirus virion. This tricks our body into thinking it has been infected by a coronavirus, so it will start producing antibodies to fight off the perceived infection. Those antibodies stick around for some time, so if you actually get infected with coronavirus later you will be able to quickly fight off the infection before it has time to cause serious symptoms (or any at all).
A common misconception is that an mRNA vaccine modifies your genetic code. This is not true. It is DNA, not RNA, that is copied during cell division and contains your actual genetic code. RNA simply instructs your cells to create proteins; it does not modify your DNA's genetic sequence.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, separated by 21 or 28 days, respectively.
How does the Johnson & Johnson vaccine work?
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. It contains a modified virus that has the same surface protein present on coronavirus. This viral vector is modified so that it is incapable of replicating itself in your body, and it will not make you sick. However, your immune system recognizes the surface protein and begins creating antibodies that can fight off a future infection of an actual coronavirus.
The mRNA vaccines described above contain an instruction for our own cells to create the surface protein, whereas the Johnson & Johnson vaccine instead contains other harmless virus particles that already have the same surface protein.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose.
For more information from the FDA on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, click here.
Can the vaccine cause COVID-19?
No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines approved in the U.S. use the live virus that causes COVID-19. Any minor side effects you experience are a result of your body's immune response and not an actual infection.
Until the vaccine is widely available, everyone should continue to follow critical public health guidelines, including:
- Avoid crowds
- Wear a mask in public
- Maintain at least 6 feet distance from people
- Wash your hands often
- Stay home when you’re sick
We will continue to provide knowledge, educational materials, and data on vaccination in the County. This will be done as we continue to monitor COVID-19 in the community, collect epidemiological data, provide COVID-19 testing, case investigation, contact tracing, and provide other services related to the pandemic.
- 2021-02-09 Cascade County Press Release_COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Update
- 2021-01-29 Cascade County Press Release_Cascade County COVID-19 Vaccination List Update
- 2021-01-27 Cascade County Press Release_Cascade County COVID-19 Vaccination List Now Available
- 2021-01-18 COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Update in Cascade County
- DPHHS HAN UPDATE 2021-01-06_Update to Implementation of COVID-19 Vaccination in Montana
- What to Expect After Your Vaccine
- What to Do if You have an Allergic Reaction
- COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Specific Groups (Allergies, Pregnant Women, High Risk, etc.)
- Montana Vaccine Allocation Plan
- CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Information
- COVID Vaccine Facts
- COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheets (CDC)