TWIN FALLS, Idaho — South Central Public Health District (SCPHD) is expected to receive the region's first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine within the next few days. The Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare announced Monday they would begin shipping doses of the vaccine to local health districts.
The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine was determined to be safe and effective by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday, Dec. 11.
Idaho's vaccine distribution plan instructs local health districts to prioritize vaccination to local hospital and outpatient clinic staff who have been caring for COVID-19 patients. Once those facilities have been offered the vaccine, the remaining doses will be offered to other groups in accordance with Idaho's COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee's (CVAC) recommendations.
The first shipment being sent to SCPHD is expected to contain 975 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"This is not enough vaccine to offer to every one of our frontline workers, but it's a good start," said Josh Jensen, SCPHD public health program manager. "We are hopeful additional vaccine shipments will arrive in the coming weeks, but for now, we are doing everything we can to make this first shipment of vaccine cover as much of our district as possible."
SCPHD is working with local hospitals to schedule staff vaccine clinics as well as healthcare partners in the priority groups. The health district will not ship doses to hospitals until they are ready to meet the complex conditions needed to keep the vaccine viable.
Half of the provided vaccine doses will be held until another shipment is confirmed to ensure everyone vaccinated has access to the required second dose.
"We are thrilled people will have protection through this vaccine, but it's important to remember that we won't have enough doses for most of our residents until this spring or summer at the earliest," Jensen said. "Please keep your guard up. Keep taking precautions. We have many more months to go and many people we still need to protect."
SCPHD will continue to update the public as more information regarding the vaccine becomes available. For more information, click here.
Facts not fear: More on coronavirus
See our latest updates in our YouTube playlist: