Tiffany Webber of Ravalli County Public Health said the department is offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for younger individuals, starting at age 12. The updated recommendations came from the Centers for Disease Control and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Pfizer vaccines are available at Public Health on a weekday basis by appointment. And Johnson & Johnson vaccines for adults are offered on Thursdays, again by appointment. For more information, check the Ravalli County official website's COVID-19 page.

Public Health noted 19 new COVID-19 positive tests for last week, and as of Friday afternoon, May 14, there were 43 open cases in the Bitterroot Valley. Also, fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks in most situations, except where required by government laws or local business and workplace guidelines. Even if you're fully vaccinated, it's a good idea to take a mask along when you go out in public. There are still plenty of places where you'll be requested to wear it.

Webber again emphasized that if you're fully vaccinated and are exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, you do not have to quarantine, but you should still check for possible symptoms. If you feel sick, get tested.

In their Friday news release, Public Health also thanked all the school nurses and school staff members in the county who kept the kids "in school" during the school year. Webber also thanked the retired nurses who helped Public Health in contact tracing and vaccinations.

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