HELENA, Mont. (NMB) – In an interview with New Media Broadcasters on Friday, Governor Greg Gianforte encouraged Montanans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“The medical community tells me they are safe and effective. I talked to my Doctor, I got vaccinated. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to talk to your doctor and consider getting vaccinated if you haven’t done it yet. Nine out of 10 people going into the hospital right now are not vaccinated.”
This comes as the state’s surge of COVID-19 cases has continued and local health officials have been stepping down throughout the state. Recently, Jana McPherson-Hauer resigned as Blaine County Health Officer, citing in part recently passed laws such as HB 702, which prohibits discrimination based on vaccine status, and HB 121, which requires local elected officials to approve certain decisions by Health Boards and Officers.
“(HB 121) basically makes these public health officials obligated to work with local elected officials,” Gianforte says. “In my mind, this makes sense. I also think it’s important that Government educate, we communicate, but we shouldn’t be mandating. I think Montanans are smart enough to make decisions for themselves. And that’s why we’ll continue to emphasize getting vaccinated, but it’s a personal choice. And I think the public health officials, they’ve been working incredibly hard for a long period of time. And I understand the strain that they are under.”