BOISE, Idaho — Idaho is now headed into its second week of vaccinations for people age 65 and older. So far, there has been a lot of confusion about how to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Many residents have been unable to schedule an appointment, while many healthcare providers tell us there is not enough vaccine to keep up with demand.
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen and Public Health Administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch provided an update Tuesday afternoon on the status of COVID-19 vaccine in Idaho, and then answered questions from media, along with state epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn and Sarah Leeds, Idaho Immunization Program manager.
Jeppesen said Idaho now has 407 enrolled vaccine providers and 46 more than are in the process of getting enrolled with the state. To date, Idaho has received 266,000 doses and 71 percent of those have been administered. He says Idaho is doing a good job of getting the vaccine out once they get it from the federal government.
"91 percent of first doses received in Idaho have been administered, which means there's less than one week's worth of inventory in the state right now," Jeppesen said. "The providers are doing a great job of getting those first doses within seven days, which is our goal."
Another highlight from the data, is that Idahoans are going back to get their second doses right on time. Jeppesen says the second doses are occurring at the rate they would expect at this point in the process.
There was a hiccup with the federal pharmacy partnership for long-term care facilities. Not all the doses were being used by CVS and Walgreens. Jeppesen said Idaho reallocated 12,600 doses from CVS and about 13,600 doses from Walgreens back to the state. Those figures represent first and second doses.
Idaho has added two more buttons to its coronavirus website to help with data transparency. The state is now tracking vaccine provider data and that will be updated three times per week.
On Feb. 1 those 65 and older became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Idaho. Jeppesen says that approximately 62,500 people in that age group, or about 21 percent, have received their first dose of the vaccine. There are roughly 291,000 people when you include those who reside in long-term care centers. It's going to take a while to get all those people vaccinated.
"We're receiving about 25,000 first doses a week. That means it will take several months for us to get completely through this group and we continue to ask for your patience," Jeppesen said.
There are some additional doses of the Moderna vaccine arriving in Idaho this week as part of a second federal pharmacy program. Shaw-Tulloch says Idaho's share is approximately 5,000 doses and they are scheduled to begin arriving on Thursday, Feb. 11. Idaho has selected Albertsons and Walmart to distribute the vaccines.
Walmart sent out a news release Tuesday afternoon announcing its plans to distribute the COVID-19 vaccines in Idaho starting on Friday, Feb. 12.
Eligible customers can schedule a vaccine appointment via the Walmart website once appointments are available. Vaccines will be available to those who meet the current phase of vaccine eligibility in Idaho.
Vaccinations are available at the following Idaho Walmart locations:
•Walmart #1900: 385 N. Overland Ave, Burley, ID 83318
•Walmart #2780: 5108 Cleveland Blvd, Caldwell, ID 83607
•Walmart #1995: 4240 Yellowstone Ave, Chubbuck, ID 83202
•Walmart #2831: 2680 S. Lincoln Ave, Jerome, ID 83338
•Walmart #5869: 2470 West Pullman Road 2, Moscow, ID 83843
•Walmart #2782: 2745 American Legion Blvd, Mountain Home, ID 83647
•Walmart #3739: 5875 E. Franklin Road, Nampa, ID 83687
•Walmart #1878: 1450 North 2nd East, Rexburg, ID 83440
•Walmart #4249: 583 Commerce Drive, Smelterville, ID 83868
•Walmart #3897: 252 Cheney Drive W, Twin Falls, ID 83301