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'I needed to feel purposeful': Blaine Co. woman, health district team up to encourage vaccinations

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Posted at 3:09 PM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 09:02:24-04

BLAINE COUNTY, Idaho — When Jennifer Liebrum, a Blaine County resident, first contracted COVID-19 in March 2020, she had to quarantine from her whole family.

“This is the weirdest experience I think most of us have ever had," Liebrum said.

Liebrum contracted COVID-19 after working at a wedding. While quarantining, she was extra cautious around her 16-year-old daughter, Devon, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2016.

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“I was worried because I have a kid who had a bone marrow transplant two and a half years ago and any outside invaders are potentially a danger to her," Liebrum said.

Liebrum's daughter did not contract COVID-19, and after having to isolate for almost a year, Liebrum decided she wanted to make a difference.

“I needed to feel purposeful and one of the things that have always served me is that when I am confronted with fear, I just dive into the research,” Liebrum said.

This is what encouraged her to start working with the South Central Public Health District. Her main goal was to help as many people as possible get the vaccine.

She says one of the most rewarding parts is getting to see families reunite.

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“Lots of cheers and lots of tears and genuine gratitude around a needle that was liquid gold for the people who actually got it so that was an amazing experience in itself," Liebrum said.

As of August 9, the South Central Public Health District says around 46% of the population in the Magic Valley is vaccinated, but they expect those numbers to rise.

“Some of those people, we expect, will go and get the vaccine if cases in our area continue to increase. Others will wait until they have a chance to talk to their doctor. Some others will continue to wait, which is why we keep pumping out information so that if anyone is looking for that information, they have the opportunity to get it from a source that is actually backed by science," said Brianna Bodily with the South Central Public Health District.

For Liebrum, going from not being able to be around her family because of COVID-19 to working with the health district and seeing families reunite, has been a full-circle moment.

“You just feel like you’ve given somebody a golden ticket for a free ride to something and it was just facilitating. It was the nurses who have to do all the hard, heavy lifting, but there’s a lot of joy in here. Lots, lots of joy," Liebrum said.