BILLINGS - A second Yellowstone County resident has passed away this month due to COVID-19 related illness, bringing the county’s pandemic death toll to 271 lives lost since April 2020, according to RiverStone Health records.

A woman in her 50s died on Monday, June 7, at a Billings hospital, as stated in a release from RiverStone Health. She had been vaccinated against COVID-19, but had an underlying health condition that may have made the vaccine less effective, RiverStone says.

“We have very vulnerable community members whose health depends on all eligible people getting vaccinated,” John Felton Yellowstone County health officer, president and CEO of RiverStone Health, said. “I offer my deepest sympathy to the victim’s family and friends. This tragic death is a stark reminder that everyone age 12 and older should get vaccinated, not only to protect themselves, but also to safeguard their family members and neighbors from this highly contagious virus.”

RiverStone says when a large majority of people in the county are fully immunized, the virus spread will be reduced so people with compromised immune systems (e.g. cancer patients and organ transplant recipients) and other health conditions that make the vaccine less effective for them won’t be exposed to the virus.

Overall, the Moderna and Pfizer two-dose vaccines have been proven 95% effective at preventing infection, illness and death from COVID-19.

Safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines are conveniently available through many local retail pharmacies for everyone age 12 and older.

RiverStone Health is staffing the following free, walk-in vaccination clinics:

⦁ Friday, June 11, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., RiverStone Health, 123 S. 27th St., in the four-story building.

⦁ Monday, June 14, noon-1 p.m., Castle Rock Park during Reading Rocks and the Billings Public Schools free summer lunch program.

⦁ Tuesday, June 15, noon-1 p.m., Pioneer Park during Reading Rocks and the lunch program.

⦁ Wednesday, June 16, noon-1 p.m., Castle Rock Park.

⦁ Thursday, June 17, noon-1 p.m., Central Park during Reading Rocks and lunch program.

People under the age of 18 must have a vaccination consent form signed by a parent or guardian. Consent forms are available at the clinics and at under “vaccinations”.