TWIN FALLS — The South Central Public Health District announced that it would be offering vaccines to anyone who is 16 and older throughout the Magic Valley.
District officials say they are thrilled to be able to provide this opportunity as more people will now be able to get the shot and move us a step closer towards that herd immunity.
However, this priority group was originally slated for April 5, and after discussions with other local providers, the health district felt it suitable to make it available now.
“What we’re learning is that they’re keeping up very well and there might even be a little bit of room for some providers in expanding," said Brianna Bodily, spokesperson for the health district. "So that’s why we decided yesterday after discussing with those local providers to go ahead and take that step and open up the entire district to the rest of our residents.”
This announcement comes only a few weeks after district officials expressed their concern over receiving fewer doses than what was needed. In mid-March, the district was only seeing 2,000 to 3,000 doses coming in weekly.
“As far as Moderna and Pfizer is concerned, we are receiving quite a bit more right now. We’re closer to an average of 4,000 a week, sometimes a little bit more than that. So we are able to meet quite a bit more of the demand in our district,” said Bodily.
Now that this new demographic has been open, officials are trying to do more to reach out to those who are younger since the effects from COVID-19 are not as severe.
“They don't necessarily have as much motivation to go get that vaccine. And even though it’s only a few minutes of time, 30 minutes or 45 minutes, it’s still time out of your day," Bodily said."What we do anticipate is having to do quite a bit more education to help people understand that you don’t just receive the vaccine for yourself, you do it for your entire community.”
The district does want to remind anyone at the ages of 16 and 17 who wish to receive a COVID-19 vaccine may only receive the Pfizer since Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only authorized for usage for people 18 and older.