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Little: Idaho’s flow of COVID vaccine still low, asks for patience: what it will take to ramp up

Idaho Governor Brad Little said the supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses is well below the demand for the shots.

The governor said Idaho gets about 24,000 first doses of the vaccine each week. Starting Monday, the state will open up the vaccination program to all adults older than 65 years of age.

“Based on our current allocation, it could take all the eligible people for two months to get their first dose,” Little said. “So I ask, please be patient.”

[New guidance: Here’s when Idaho says you can get a COVID-19 vaccine]

Half by late spring?

Little said he looks forward to new vaccines coming online from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca – as well as increased production from Moderna and Pfizer.

“I just keep doing the math about when we are going to get 70 to 80 percent vaccinated so we can go back to life as normal as all of us in Idaho want,” Little said. “I think we are going to have over half our population done by late spring/earlly summer – but it depends on those other vaccines.”

He said his staff’s communication with the Biden administration has been “good,” and that the federal government’s level of supply to Idaho will stay steady for the next two weeks. He said Idaho’s dose allocation level is based on Idaho’s proportion of the overall population in the country – but there are some caveats.

“It’s on per capita adult,” Little said. “Idaho has the second-highest level of (people) below 18 – so that’s one of our issues, and why we aren’t getting (as many shots).”

He also said that the formula uses an out-of-date population count, which doesn’t take into account all of Idaho’s recent growth.

He said he believes Idaho will get more supply soon, but he does not know the timeline.

Little said he got his first dose of the COVID-19 shot recently, and it was “a walk in the park,” compared to a recent shingle shot he received. He said he saw no side effects from the vaccine.

More data coming, employer clinics

The state will upgrade its online dashboard in the next few weeks to show which providers are getting vaccine doses, and how fast they are doling out the shots. He wants all vaccine doses that come into the state to be administered within seven days of arriving in the state.

So far, 89,340 Idahoans received one of the two required doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to state data. That’s just a hair under 5% of the total population based on 2019 US Census estimates. A total of 19,024 people received both doses – or 1.06%.

The governor said the state will work with large employers and groups like Crush the Curve to set up large-scale vaccination clinics once supply increases and more Idahoans qualify to get the shots.

The vaccine process started last month, with doses from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna arriving in the state. The two vaccines reported high levels of efficacy in trials. The Pfizer vaccine proved 95% effective in adults in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, and the Moderna vaccine proved 94.1% effective.

Don Day - BoiseDev Editor
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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