Missoula County officials made the announcement on Wednesday that vaccinations will begin for Phase 1 B Plus starting on Monday, March 15.

Adriane Beck, Director of the Missoula County Office of Emergency Management has details.

“We are happy to announce that Missoula County will be transitioning into the new Phase  1 B plus on Monday, March 15,” said Beck. “This will increase eligible residents’ availability to receive a vaccine as we transition into a new phase. All the preceding phases and the eligibility criteria and residents who meet those previous phases are still eligible to register for vaccine appointments, but as we continue to churn through our population, we'll continue to add more phases to add more people who are eligible.”

Beck outlined who is eligible under Phase 1 B Plus.

“This new phase one B plus will include Missoula County residents who are 60 years or older, and then people aged 16 to 59 with additional high risk medical conditions with a list that can be found on our website at COVID 19.missoula.co,” she said.

Beck said the ongoing clinics and incoming vaccines are making the task of vaccinating as many people as possible easier for health officials.

A report from COVID 19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr on Wednesday afternoon read ‘we still have around 1,000 appointments left for Thursday, Friday and Sunday’s clinics. I think we may have conditioned people to think that if they didn’t get signed up for an appointment in the first 15 minutes, that there wouldn’t be any appointments left, so they stopped checking after the initial opening’.

“We were able to make some assumptions based on the situation that we were presented with at the time,” she said. “We're happy to report that the (vaccination) situation just continues to get better and better, and that the allocation of vaccine that's coming into the state of Montana has seen a recent bolster with some additional federal vaccine that's become available that does not affect our state allocation. In addition, our state allocation has also slowly begun to uptick into Missoula County, specifically.”

A report from COVID 19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr on Wednesday afternoon read ‘we still have around 1,000 appointments left for Thursday, Friday and Sunday’s clinics. I think we may have conditioned people to think that if they didn’t get signed up for an appointment in the first 15 minutes, that there wouldn’t be any appointments left, so they stopped checking after the initial opening’.

Beck said it could be considered a positive problem.

“It is a positive problem, but it's a bit of a head scratcher,” she said. “We've had appointments just going very quickly up until just recently. We’re encouraging people to go to COVID-19 dot missoula.co and look for those available appointments. Our goal is to never have appointments unfilled.”

Phase 1b+ expands eligibility to people ages 60 and older, as well as those ages 16-59 with certain health conditions.

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.