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Idaho Prepares To Expand COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution To More Groups

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In the beginning of February another large group of Idahoans will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

  

State health officials say getting through the roughly 300,000 residents who are 65 or older who will become eligible then could take about 10 weeks if the state’s vaccine allotment of 20,925 first doses a week doesn’t increase.

“Clearly, February 1, there’s going to be limited vaccine and a lot of people that want that,” said Amy Gamett of Eastern Idaho Public Health during the Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee (CVAC) meeting on Friday. Ramping up from defined groups of health care workers and teachers to a wide population segment will be a logistical challenge, she said. 

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare employees said the overall supply of vaccines arriving to Idaho will still be the limiting factor in the vaccine rollout, as the 65 and older residents become eligible. Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Kathryn Turner said there are enough locations in the state where people can get vaccinated.

 

“We are continuing to increase the number of providers that are enrolled in the program and so our capacity to vaccinate more people is going up every single day,” she said.

 

More than 300 clinics, offices and pharmacies are enrolled to provide the COVID-19 vaccine in the state, and others are in process of being certified.

 

Also during Friday's CVAC meeting, committee members clarified who belongs in the highest priority vaccine groups based on feedback and questions received during the rollout.

 

For example, since the first January meeting, the committee voted to include family members who provide care for high-risk individuals and people 65 and older; clergy who offer support to patients in health care facilities and behavioral health workers in Group 1.

 

For Group 2, the committee added funeral service personnel and individuals residing in homeless shelters.

 

Members voted not to include foster parents, gas and utility workers who respond to emergencies, and non-USPS package delivery services in Group 2.

 

Follow Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen for more local news. 

 

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