IDAHO — The first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine could be in Idaho sooner than expected. Idaho Department of Health and Welfare expects the state to receive about 13,600 of the first dose of the vaccine in mid-December.
About three weeks later, the state will receive the same number of second doses for those who received the first dose.
The health agency says they do not anticipate a shortage of the second round of doses.
The CDC voted Tuesday to recommended those who are most at risk of contracting the virus, health care workers and those in long-term care facilities, get the first doses.
"In addition to healthcare workers that are in a traditional hospital, emergency room, and clinic settings, it would also include people who are in supporting roles as well as staff at long-term care facilities and their residents," Regence Executive Medical Director, Dr. Amy Khan said.
There are just over 400 long-term care facilities in Idaho. According to the Idaho hospital association, in 2019, Idaho hospitals employed 29,000 full and part-time employees.
While the FDA has not authorized a vaccine in the united states yet, they do have a meeting of vaccine advisors scheduled for December 10th to consider emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine and another on December 17th to discuss Moderna's vaccine.
The FDA has promised to consider the committee's advice before deciding on any vaccine.
The FDA says:
"We are committed to expediting the development of COVID-19 vaccines, but not at the expense of sound science and decision making. We will not jeopardize the public's trust in our science-based, independent review of these or any vaccines. There's too much at stake."
- Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., FDA Commissioner, and Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research
So, when the vaccines do arrive in Idaho, where will they be stored?
"The first one, made by Pfizer, requires that the vaccine be stored at the temperature of dry ice. Similarly, the second vaccine that will undergo this review by the FDA is made by Moderna, and also has some cold chain requirements - but not as cold as the Pfizer vaccine," Khan said.
IDHW says while the details are still being determined on the distribution and storage of the vaccine, the state has purchased seven ultra-cold freezers one for each health district.
The Idaho COVID-19 vaccine advisory committee will meet today to discuss an update on vaccine planning, priority populations and to hear an overview of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine studies. Stay with Idaho news 6 for more information coming on the vaccine in Idaho.