COVID-19 vaccine will be in Idaho this week

COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 12:15 PM, Dec 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 14:33:36-05

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech is arriving in Idaho this week. The department says in a news release that the state is expected to receive all of the initial allotment of 13,650 doses.

The vaccine will go to healthcare workers in Idaho first after the Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee reviewed CDC guidance and discussed Idaho needs. The initial vaccine shipment will go to the hospital and outpatient clinic staff who provide care for COVID-19 patients.

The vaccine is being distributed to Idaho's seven public health districts based on the number of healthcare workers in each district.

“We are thrilled to finally have the vaccine in hand to get vaccinations started, but we know there won’t be enough in this first shipment to vaccinate all healthcare workers who want it,” said Elke Shaw-Tulloch, the state’s public health officer and administrator of the Division of Public Health. “We are expecting weekly shipments going forward, but exact details are still being determined and will be forthcoming. We expect that healthcare workers will be notified by their employers as they determine a schedule for vaccinations in their facilities.”

Residents and staff of long-term care facilities are also included in the initial phase. The Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee is following CDC requirements to have a certain amount of the vaccine available before starting the long-term care facility program. The vaccines will be given by specific pharmacies and is expected to start after the second week of vaccine allocation. 4

“We know there are a lot of questions from Idahoans who want to know when they will be able to receive the vaccine,” said Shaw-Tulloch. “I am encouraged by the level of interest in the vaccine, but we don’t have all of those details yet. This is a rapidly evolving situation and things are changing quickly. We are also very concerned that we don’t rush the process; vaccinators need to make sure they have the proper tools and training to get started. But rest assured that we want to get the vaccine to as many people who want it, as quickly as possible, and we will communicate more through press releases and our website as we find out more about how many doses we will receive and when.”

St. Luke's announced last week they are ready to receive the vaccine and they anticipate administering it to frontline healthcare workers by the end of this week. Idaho News 6 will have more on their plan tonight at 5.

The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the vaccine last Friday and the CDC's Advisory Committee voted Saturday to recommend the vaccine for use.