GALLATIN COUNTY — A 55-percent majority of Gallatin County’s population is now vaccinated against COVID-19 and is ahead of the statewide percentage, according to the county's health officer.
“We are definitely ahead of Montana as a state, as a whole I should say, in terms of being fully vaccinated,” explained Gallatin City-County Health Officer Lori Christenson.
While Gallatin County sits at 55 percent, Montana is at 48 percent.
“We can see and often see vaccination rates higher in more urban settings, so here in Gallatin County we have a pretty big metropolis here in Bozeman, where we may see higher vaccination rates than some of the more rural communities and that’s not unusual,” Christenson said.
So we’re ahead in numbers, but there’s still progress to be made.
“We really do want to see 70 percent fully vaccinated. It’s not an exact science in terms of the exact percentage, in terms of when we can reach herd immunity and truly beat this virus. But that is a goal that really helps establish that benchmark, so at 55 percent we’re moving in the right direction. We just have a ways to go still,” said Christenson.
But Christenson says the county is currently seeing a plateau in residents getting the vaccine.
“When we think about where we were back when the vaccine was first available, we were easily doing up to 900 vaccinations a day. For us right now, to get 100 vaccinations a day is extremely something to celebrate,” she explained.
Christenson recently stepped into her role, but she’s ready to continue this journey.
“It’s been rewarding. It’s been challenging. It’s been exciting at times. There’s definitely a lot to still learn. There’s a lot of work still left to do as a community and as a department," said Christenson.
For the latest numbers on county vaccination rates, you can check that out via the state of Montana's COVID-19 dashboard.