IDHW: Fewer doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine expected for next week

Posted at 10:40 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 10:10:08-05

IDAHO — On Thursday, The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said it would be receiving fewer doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine next week, and they don't know why.

IDHW expects to receive an allotment of 13,650 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the week. The state now expects to receive 9,750 doses instead of 17,550 next week.

IDHW said it would continue to administer the vaccines for health care workers. Pzifer said their delay is not on their end and stated,

"This week, we successfully shipped all 2.9 million doses that we were asked to ship by the u.s. government to the locations specified by them. we have millions more doses sitting in our warehouse but, as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses."

"We have continuously shared with Operation Warp Speed (OWS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through weekly meetings every aspect of our production and distribution capabilities. They have visited our facilities, walked the production lines and been updated on our production planning as information has become available."

One bright spot could be that hospitals may be able to stretch their vaccine supplies a bit.

A spokesperson with IDHW said each vial of Pfizer vaccine officially contains enough to vaccinate five people but they have heard some vials have enough to vaccinate a sixth or seventh person.

"CDC has informed us that providers may go ahead and administer the extra vaccine in the vial to an additional healthcare worker. (Vaccinators may NOT combine remaining vaccine from several vials to get a full dose.) This allows additional people to be vaccinated," Niki Forbing- Orr Public Information Manager with IDHW said.

As local hospitals administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to health workers, IDHW is has started tracking those doses, a sign of hope, health officials say.

"Health care providers would administer the vaccine, and they have 72 hours to get those numbers into the Idaho Immunization Reminder System (IRIS) our immunization registry, "Sarah Leeds Manager for the Idaho Immunization Program, said. "There will be that window of time that we may not know exactly how many doses are administered."

"We recognize there is a great demand for this life-saving tool, and we expect changes and evolution when it comes to managing supply. The COVID-19 vaccine continues to arrive in Idaho, and I urge Idahoans to be patient with the distribution."

For the latest updates on the COVID-19 vaccine in Idaho, the state's COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee is holding a meeting Friday. You can find more information here and join the meeting starting at 12 p.m. here.