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Idaho leaders meet to discuss plans to roll out COVID-19 vaccine

The committee met for two hours Friday to discuss the state's plans for rolling out a vaccine once it is authorized.

BOISE, Idaho — There is a lot of curiosity, and not to mention questions out there surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines.

The Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee held a virtual meeting Friday to discuss what we know about the vaccines so far, and what it'll look like for Idaho.

Those two vaccines we're talking about are the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna.

So far, a preliminary look at the data from clinical trial results for Moderna shows a 94.5 percent in effectiveness. With pfizer reporting 95 percent.

Both vaccines report mostly mild to moderate symptoms, like muscle aches, joint pain, headache and fatigue.

Nearly 60 people, including healthcare leaders, participated in the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee meeting.

Phase one of the vaccine rollout would vaccinate healthcare workers, specifically inpatient facility healthcare workers and long-term care facility staff.

But during the meeting, the program manager for the Idaho Immunization Program, Sarah Leeds, said the state is really working and planning for three possible scenarios right now.

The first is the Pfizer ultra cold scenario.

“The timing of this graphic is a little off because it's saying the end of November but that realistically is probably mid-December, but the doses around the country remain the same, they're anticipating 10-20 million doses," Leeds said.

She says the second scenario is unlikely, but not impossible. And that would be if Moderna's vaccine came out first.

And lastly, the third scenario is if both vaccines hit the market at roughly the same time.

“We might be dealing with Pfizer a few weeks before Moderna, but again this is also speculation, these are the doses we're looking at 20-30 million mid-to-late December,” Leeds said.

She also shared with the group a look at the unofficial number of initial doses the state would see, which potentially could be roughly 52,000 doses.

The committee also revealed that the state has purchased seven ultra-cold freezers to hold these vaccines for the health districts.

They're expected to arrive on Dec. 7.

The panel is scheduled to meet again on Dec. 4.

St. Luke's and Saint Alphonsus tell us they are working with the state to plan for when the vaccine becomes available.

St. Luke's sent out an email surveying their staff so they can begin preparing for the number of COVID-19 vaccines they'll need to administer.

The Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee was formed by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare at the direction of Gov. Brad Little in October and its members represent stakeholders from across Idaho, including the tribes, priority populations, healthcare systems and providers, and immunization organizations. 

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