IDAHO — In the early stages of the vaccine rollout, Idaho ranked near the bottom of the list nationally for vaccines administered. Now, it sits in the No. 5 position.
Vaccine doses are being administered quickly across the state. According to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW), 93.3% of doses distributed to the state have been administered.
Of the almost 270,000 people ages 65 and older, 39% of this population size has received at least one dose so far, according to IDHW.
Through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, Idaho will be getting more doses. The program added a new chain, which includes 30 smaller pharmacies operating in 17 counties across Idaho, now making 42 pharmacies statewide apart of the program.
Idaho will now be allocated more doses than before between the state’s normal allotment and the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
“We can see that the state currently shows that about 75% doses that this Federal Retail Pharmacy Program received have been administered. So, with the addition of this retail pharmacy program, we are now receiving just a little over 40,000 doses into the state each week,” IDHW Administrator of Public Health, Elke Shaw-Tulloch said.
Idaho did see a slight slowdown in the weekly vaccine allotment due to winter storms across the country, but according to IDHW, all of those doses will be arriving in the state this week, in addition to the regular number of doses the state receives.
Although Idaho is receiving more doses, there still is not enough to get everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated right away, but a new pre-registration system will be rolling out to help alleviate some of the confusion when making appointments.
“The main objective of the pre-registration solution is to give Idahoans one place to go to register if they are interested in getting vaccinated. Once registered, an enrolled COVID-19 vaccine provider will reach out to schedule an appointment when they are eligible to get vaccinated and the provider has appointments open,” IDHW Director Dave Jeppesen said.
IDHW says it recognizes the frustration people are having with the appointment-making process so it is creating one single spot where people can go, fill out their information, such as age and health conditions, then be notified when they are eligible instead of constantly calling and checking in with providers.
“It really is meant to just be a place where citizens can go and say ‘I’m interested in getting vaccinated,’ and then when it's their turn and when a provider has an appointment, that provider can reach out and schedule them for an appointment,” Jeppesen said.
The pre-registration solution will not prevent you from directly calling a provider but try to avoid double-booking vaccine appointments.
“We are just going to ask people if you know have two appointments, please cancel one so that can free up for other folks, and do that as soon as possible so that others that are in line can have the ability to get vaccinated," Jeppesen said.
The pre-registration system is expected to roll out in early March.