'Time to get the vaccine is now': Gov. Brad Little urges COVID-19 vaccine before students return to school

Gov. Brad Little urges getting vaccine before start of school
Posted at 1:12 PM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 19:09:14-04

Gov. Brad Little strongly encouraged Idaho residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine before students return to the classroom this fall.

Little said getting the vaccine will help protect school's ability to maintain in-person learning this school year. During the press conference at Nampa High School Thursday, Little said unvaccinated Idahoans are getting sick and hospitals are beginning to feel the strain.

Around 99% of COVID-19 cases since Jan. 1, 2021 were unvaccinated individuals, and 98.6% of COVID-19 hospitalizations since the beginning of January were people who had not been vaccinated.

Since May 15, there have been 10 times as many COVID-19 cases in unvaccinated people as vaccinated; 13 times as many hospitalizations and 8 times as many deaths.

In 2 months, projections show case counts could exceed the peak in 2020 for daily case counts.

Because of this data, Little says "don't be surprised" is the Idaho National Guard is deployed again to assist the state's hospitals.

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"Idaho students are headed back to their classrooms starting next week. As I've stated from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our students need to be able to learn in their classrooms with their teachers and peers," Little said in a statement. "Our main defense in ensuring the new school year is entirely in-person — free from outbreaks and quarantines — is the COVID-19 vaccine."

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Currently, 51.4% of Idaho's residents 12-years and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 46.7% fully vaccinated, according to state data.

Little also announced he is directing $30 million to expand testing in K through 12 schools. The Associated Press reports that Little says schools shutting down due to coronavirus outbreaks and parents forced to stay home to care for kids and miss work could slow Idaho’s economic rebound.