IDHW gives COVID-19 vaccine update; health official sees demand for vaccines

Posted at 11:38 PM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 10:23:39-05

IDAHO — A state health official said the demand for the COVID-19 vaccine is greater than the supply they currently have.

"For the foreseeable future, our biggest challenge is not enough people wanting to take the vaccine. It's getting enough doses in the state to get meet that demand," Dave Jeppesen, Director with the Idaho Department of Idaho Health and Welfare, said.

On Tuesday, IDHW gave an update on how many vaccine doses they expect to receive by the end of this week and other efforts to help health care agencies administer the vaccine.

The IDHW has announced new grants to help providers administer those doses.

"Enrolled provider organizations can use the grants for items such as increasing resources and staffing, purchasing needed equipment and supplies, develop strategies to ensure for hard to reach and vulnerable populations and many other items to meet the needs of this program," Jeppesen said.

IDHW is also working on an online tool that would allow individuals to review their options and sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

"We wanted to make sure the functionality was appropriate, and it was going to meet our needs. We feel there are still some issues that we need to resolve," Public Health Administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch said.

Shaw-Tulloch said they hope to have the online tool ready to go either by the end of the month or early February.

As the vaccine rollout continues, health officials encourage the community to continue to practice safe habits.

"It stills remains extremely important to wear a mask, maintain a six feet distance between non-household members, and to wash your hands frequently," Jeppesen said.