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Treasure Valley vaccine clinics making effort to be more accessible and convenient

So far, more than 985,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine been administered in the Gem State.

BOISE, Idaho — Healthcare providers in the Treasure Valley are continuing their push to get a COVID-19 vaccine to all Idahoans who want to be vaccinated. More than 985,000 doses have been administered in the Gem State, according to the Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare.

The high demand for vaccines has decreased in recent months, so doses are more widely available for anyone over the age of 16. 

“It’s understandable because we really worked our way through the 65 and older population, as well as the high-risk folks," said Dr. Patrice Burgess, the executive medical director for Saint Alphonsus Health.

According to St. Luke’s Health System, the vaccine supply has doubled and is more dependable and consistent. Getting a vaccine in many areas of the state is easier than it was two or three months ago. 

“We’re at the point now where we’re able to say, 'Who do we need to give vaccines to?'” said Scott Milner, the director of pharmacy for St. Luke's.

Health groups like Saint Alphonsus said the amount of doses they’re getting is about the same each week. Saint Alphonsus' Meridian clinic is able to administer 1,000 vaccines a day.

"Now we’re down to the folks that aren’t as high risk and might not be as motivated to get on the phone or get online and sign up," Burgess said.

Healthcare providers believe convenience and scheduling are major factors in getting the vaccine. 

Saint Alphonsus has walk-in clinic events at the Meridian location at The Village where people can show up without an appointment, get vaccinated and schedule their second dose if one is required.

The walk-in clinic is Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. People are asked to bring a form of ID and an insurance card if they have it.

"We’ve really ironed out a lot of the kinks and we have a little bit more supply," Burgess said. "We’ve figured out how to manage the vials.” 

Other vaccination locations are making changes too.  Starting Monday, Primary Health will offer the vaccine to patients visiting their locations in Overland and Garden City. No appointment is required.

“We got to make it convenient, we got to ask them and we have to give them all the facts so they know this vaccine is safe and effective," said Dr. David Peterman, the CEO of Primary Health Medical.

Medical groups are also gearing up to take their vaccine efforts on the road. 

Saint Alphonsus will have a mobile unit in Homedale on Monday, with no appointment required. 

St. Luke’s is launching mobile vaccine units to visit companies and organizations. The medical system will also travel to rural and underserved communities. 

“We’re going to try to bring it to their area," Milner said. "Whether that’s at their place of employment, place that they live. We believe that coming to them reduces the barrier or hurdle.” 

People can contact St. Luke’s to schedule visits. 

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