On Jan. 19, Governor Brad Little announced plans to administer COVID-19 Vaccine Capacity, Safety, and Reporting Grants to certain healthcare providers. These grants are intended to promote a quicker and safer distribution of the vaccine, while also encouraging timely and accurate reporting for vaccination data.
“The safe and efficient administration of the COVID-19 vaccine in Idaho is my number one priority,” Gov. Little said in a recent press release.
The grants will be applied to increase staffing to administer shots, provide more supplies and equipment as needed, and “improve vaccine access for hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations,” as stated in the press release.
The amount of funds granted will vary based on the number of vaccine doses issued by each healthcare provider. According to Dave Jeppesen, the Department of Health and Welfare director, the purpose of these grants is to remove financial barriers for healthcare providers in their efforts to efficiently distribute the vaccine to Idaho residents.
On Jan.12, group two in Idaho’s vaccine distribution timeline started to receive the vaccine. This group includes residents ages 65 and older, along with frontline essential workers such as first responders and child care staff.
“We don’t have nearly enough vaccinations in folks to have herd immunity,” said Dr. Christine Hahn, State Epidemiologist, in a briefing on Jan. 19 with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. “However, at a micro-level, we’re already seeing benefits. Even having healthcare workers vaccinated (gives) the feeling of progress.”
Dr. Hahn said that gathering data regarding disease rates and seeing large-scale improvements will take longer.
Sarah Leeds, Program Manager of the Idaho Immunization Program, stated that sources from the federal level have informed her that the state of Idaho will receive partner doses of the vaccine. This was supported by Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare Public Health Administrator, Elke Shaw-Tulloch.
“Not only will we be receiving our consistent allocation of doses, but we also have certainty that we will be receiving the equivalent second doses,” Shaw-Tulloch said.
The federal government has also advised DHW that the state of Idaho can expect a two to five percent increase in the number of doses they will receive each week.
“At this time, Idaho is anticipating receiving 20,950 doses each week for the foreseeable future,” according to a DHW press release from Jan. 15.
These doses will continue to be administered to priority groups as listed in Idaho’s Vaccine Distribution Timeline. The tentative time frame for the general public to receive the vaccine will be May.
“It still remains extremely important to wear a mask, maintain six feet of distance between non-household members, and to wash your hands frequently,” Jeppesen said.
View updated details about COVID-19 and the vaccine in Idaho here.