Jon Tester

03/02/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/02/2021 16:43

At Urging of Montana Business Owners, Tester Calls on White House COVID Task Force to Use Montana’s Live Music Venues, Employees in Vaccination Effort

As part of his ongoing effort to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are distributed across Montana as quickly and safely as possible, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is urging the White House Coronavirus Task Force to use live music venues as community vaccination sites.

Tester's letter comes at the urging of Montana independent music venue owners, including Sean Lynch, owner of Pub Station Presents in Billings. The letter notes that live music venues are equipped with spacious interiors and are designed to accommodate large groups of people, making them well equipped to help provide access to vaccines regardless of zip code.

'Time is of the essence in distributing and administering coronavirus vaccines, and we must make use of all available resources for doing so,' wrote Tester and his colleagues. '...We believe that leveraging live event venues as vaccine administration sites will help to build on recent positive trends and address some of the issues that have contributed to slow vaccination efforts.'

In the letter to task force coordinator Jeff Zients, Tester and a bipartisan group of his colleagues wrote that as vaccine supply increases, using live music venues that have been shuttered for nearly a year and their employees will make vaccines more accessible to communities while providing a logistical boost and a more equitable distribution of vaccines.

'We believe that working with live event venues will support your effort for equitable distribution of the vaccine across the nation - with a focus on underserved populations,' Tester and his colleagues continued. 'This effort would also go a long way towards addressing some of the longstanding health inequities exacerbated by this pandemic.'

Tester fought tirelessly to secure $11 billion as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, including $156 million for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease to accelerate research and development of treatment and vaccines, and to secure additional funding of $4.5 billion for vaccine distribution and administration in the December COVID relief package.

He recently secured a significant increase in COVID-19 vaccination doses for Montana, after demanding that the Biden Administration distribute a fair share of vaccines to Montana following news that the state was receiving one of the lowest per capita allocations of coronavirus vaccines in the country, despite the state's strong record of efficiently distributing shots.

The full text of Tester's letter is available HERE.