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More than 13,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in Idaho next week

COVID-19 vaccine volunteer
Posted at 3:22 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 17:22:43-05

This article was originally published by Audrey Dutton in the Idaho Statesman.

Idaho officials expect more than 13,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to arrive the week of Dec. 14.

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said during an Idaho AARP call Tuesday with Gov. Brad Little that the state will receive 13,615 doses “on the ground around Tuesday or Wednesday next week.”

Vaccine advisors have said the first people to receive coronavirus vaccines should be health care workers, especially those working in places such as long-term care facilities or COVID-19 units, Jeppesen said.

He said that CVS and Walgreens will help administer the vaccines to staff of long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and residential assisted living centers.

“Shortly on the heels of the Pfizer vaccine will be the Moderna vaccine,” Jeppesen said. “It’s anticipated that that could be approved as early as (Dec. 21), a bit of an early Christmas present, or as late as Monday, Dec. 28. We expect when that happens that we will proceed within 24 to 48 hours, our first shipment of Moderna vaccines ...”

The Moderna vaccine shipment would “hopefully double, if not more,” the number of people who can be vaccinated in the near future, Jeppesen said.

After health care workers and long-term care residents are vaccinated, next in line would be critical infrastructure workers such as law enforcement, teachers, jail and prison staff, food processing and grocery store workers, the Idaho National Guard and others who work directly with the public, he said.

After that, vaccines will be available to a broad group of the general population, including older adults and adults with health conditions. “As we get to early summer, we should be getting a good chunk of the general population,” he said.

Little said that although he’s eager for vaccines to arrive, he urges Idahoans to stay vigilant and continue to follow safety guidelines such as wearing face coverings, staying away from people outside the home and washing their hands.

“This is a tough deal. I was on a call with other governors this morning. Every state is wrestling with this,” Little said. “There’s a lot of people on the call that this is less than 1/100th of their lifetime. Now, they’re going to remember ... the pandemic of 2020 and unfortunately part of 2021. But these minor inconveniences ... these are minor compared to the risk to the (vulnerable) population, to the economy, to the kids (going to school).”