BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Gov. Brad Little, along with state public health officials, announced the state's COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan and testing resources coming to Idaho schools during a press conference on Thursday.
The state is working with the federal government to determine how the vaccine will be distributed once it becomes available.
"The availability of a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine is one of the biggest hurdles in getting our lives closer to normal," Little said. "We're proud that the United States is taking a leadership role in the research and development of the vaccine. Here in Idaho, we have been planning for months for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and we will remain focused on making sure Idaho is ready when the initial supply becomes available."
The goal of the federal government is to produce and deliver 300 million safe and effective doses of COVID-19 vaccines to all states beginning in January 2021.
Idaho's distribution plan is on track to be submitted to the federal government by October 16.
Little is directing the Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare to assemble a new Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee. This committee will advise Little on vaccine prioritization when in limited supply, the implementation of the vaccine plan, and the communication and delivery of the vaccine.
Public health officials stressed that the initial supply of the vaccine is expected to be limited. It is expected that it will be offered to health care workers first, but the final decision has not been made yet.
Little also announced Idaho will remain in Stage 4 of the Idaho Rebounds plan for at least two more weeks. He emphasized that Idaho is open for business and no restrictions have been placed on businesses and other activities.
Rather, important recommendations have been given to businesses and residents to slow the spread of COVID-19.
"I often hear and read, 'Open up Idaho!' Idaho is open and has been for months," Little said. "The good actions of Idahoans and our business community enabled us to move to the final stage of our Idaho Rebounds plan months ago, and that's one of the primary reasons Idaho is leading the country in our economic prosperity."
Misconceptions surrounding Idaho's COVID-19 emergency order were cleared up by Little during the conference. He said the order exists to give Idaho access to state and federal resources needed to protect citizens and to communicate to the public that Idaho is in a state of emergency.
As temperatures begin to drive people indoors, Little said virus activity will ramp up in Idaho and across the country. For this reason, he urged Idahoans to get their flu shot and continue the precautionary measures used to slow the spread of the virus.
Learn more about coronavirus in Idaho with our Interactive map/timeline and our daily live blog tracking the latest coronavirus news.
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