COVID-19 Vaccination

Updated 5/11/21 at 10:00AM


Contact CCHD at 406-791-9250 or vaccine@cascadecountymt.gov to schedule a vaccination appointment!


COVID-19 vaccinations are offered at the CCHD facility in downtown Great Falls. Vaccinations are by appointment only. The Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are all available. 

If you wish to schedule an appointment for Pfizer, please ensure that you will be available for your second dose 21 days after your first dose; if you wish to receive Moderna, please ensure that you will be available for the second dose 28 days after the first dose.

Vaccine Eligibility

16+

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.

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!

Vaccination FAQs


 

Has the Pfizer vaccine been approved for use in children?

 

On May 10, 2021, the FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine for persons age 12-15. However, an advisory committee of the CDC still needs to review the data and make recommendations. Until that time, the Pfizer vaccine remains available to persons age 16+. 


Who can get a COVID-19 vaccine? 

 

Vaccinations through the City-County Health Department are currently available to all Cascade County residents age 16+.

 

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 symptomsPrevention of severe symptoms  (without hospitalization) or deathPrevention of severe symptoms  (with hospitalization) or death
Moderna94.1%100%100%
Pfizer-BioNTech95%Not reportedNot reported
Johnson & Johnson66%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
  • fever
  • headache
  • tiredness
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • nausea

 

These are the same common side effects of a flu vaccine and many other vaccines. They usually resolve within a day or two, without any medical intervention.

 

A very small number of people have had an allergic reaction after vaccination, but this is extremely rare. If this occurs, epinephrine and other medications are kept ready to treat any reaction. You will be monitored for 15-30 minutes after your vaccination to ensure that any adverse reaction can be treated immediately.

 

Are there any long-term side effects?

 

Serious long-term side effects are very unlikely, and are extremely rare for any kind of vaccination. If any reactions will occur, they usually happen within 6 weeks after vaccination. In trials, the COVID-19 vaccines were studied for at least two months after vaccination, and now millions of people have been vaccinated without any long-term side effects being detected.

 

If I get a two-dose vaccine, how do I schedule my second shot?

 

When you get your first vaccination, you will be automatically scheduled for your second dose. You will be given a vaccination card with the date and time of your second appointment. 

 

Rescheduling a second dose can be difficult - please make sure you can be available for your second dose BEFORE you schedule your first appointment. If you receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, your second appointment will be 21 days after your first appointment. If you receive the Moderna vaccine, your second appointment will be 28 days after your first appointment.

 

After my first vaccine, can I get a second vaccine from a different manufacturer?

 

No. You should complete the series with the same manufacturer.

 

If I got the flu vaccine, can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

 

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should be administered at least 14 days after any other vaccine, including the flu 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. 

 

For more information from the FDA on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, click here. For more information from the FDA on the Moderna vaccine, click here.

 

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.

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