BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare (IDHW) learned Friday that Idaho will not see an increase in COVID-19 vaccine doses from the previously announced release of second doses.
However, Idaho will receive 2-5% more doses of the vaccine each week, totaling about 950 extra doses each week. The state is expecting to receive 20,950 doses each week for the foreseeable future.
The announcement comes after multiple state governments, including Oregon, were informed that they would not be receiving an increased amount of COVID-19 vaccines from the alleged "vaccine stockpile" since the mentioned stock does not exist.
Idaho is requesting a more accurate and timely estimate of vaccine doses it will receive from the federal government, according to Niki Forbing-Orr with IDHW.
Dr. David Pate, member of Idaho Gov. Brad Little's coronavirus task force and retired CEO of St. Luke's Health System, said states like Idaho not getting the expected surge in vaccine shipments creates a challenging problem with the Pfizer vaccine that requires a second dose three to four weeks after the first.
"With what vaccine we have, do we keep just pushing it out knowing that we may or may not have that second dose, or does the state need to hold back some of the vaccine or tell providers to hold on to that vaccine so that we can ensure that we have the second dose?" Pate said. "If we do the first choice you get more vaccine out but we risk that people may not get the second shot on time."
In Oregon, changes are already being made. Gov. Kate Brown addressed the timeline for seniors getting their vaccine during a news conference Friday afternoon.
"While the Trump administration pulled the rug out from under us like a cruel joke let me assure you that Oregon's priorities and my priorities have not changed," Brown said. "I remain dedicated to vaccinating our seniors quickly but this failure by the Trump administration will unfortunately cause a two week delay in beginning vaccinations for seniors."
Having to push back vaccinations comes with major implications, according to Pate.
"The longer it takes us to get vaccinated the more likely we are going to have more people get sick. Unfortunately we have already heard some of the stories that people who have died were just weeks away from when they could have gotten vaccinated and we will have more of those," he said. "Of course we have a new variant headed our way and so we are not going to be prepared for that and now it just means it will be a lot longer until we can get a sufficient number of people vaccinated so that we can hit that desired herd immunity level."
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