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BOISE — As Idaho seeks to more quickly vaccinate vulnerable residents, demand for a COVID-19 vaccine “far exceeds” supply in Central District Health, district officials said Thursday.

Little announced Jan. 12 that first responders, educators and correctional staff could start to receive the vaccine as soon as Wednesday, an accelerated timeline, and that Idahoans age 65 and older would be eligible Feb. 1.

However, the state learned Jan. 15 it would not see a large increase in doses from the previously announced release of second doses. Instead, the state will see a 2-5% increase in weekly doses received, or about 950 extra doses, according to a department press release.

“Along with other states, Idaho is requesting more accurate, timely, and forward-looking estimates of doses Idaho will receive from the federal government,” a Department of Health and Welfare news release said. “DHW has committed to being transparent as we quickly work to support enrolled provider organizations as they vaccinate as many people as possible during this rapidly evolving situation.”

Though demand is surging in Central District Health — which covers Ada, Elmore, Boise and Valley counties — district officials don’t expect a significant increase in supply in the coming weeks.

Natalie Bodine, Central District Health’s public health preparedness program manager, said the district is working on expanding its vaccine provider network and getting all of the top-priority populations vaccinated, including long-term care facility residents and staff members.

“We are making sure staff and residents were taken care of and didn’t fall through the cracks,” Bodine said during Central District Health’s board meeting Friday.

Bodine said the district was struggling with vaccine allocation, a statement that came on the same day federal officials said the government’s vaccine stockpile was empty.

“It’s slowly started to creep up every week, but the dose allocation is still pretty low,” she said. “We’re just waiting for the vaccine supply to open up.”

District officials are working with community partners to develop a log of businesses and organizations immediately eligible for vaccine. Eligible residents may also contact their provider to schedule an appointment to be immunized. That’s what residents 65 and older are encouraged to do, as the health district does not have a waitlist or log process for this group.

As of Jan. 14, over 41,000 Idahoans had been vaccinated, including 9,700 who’d received their second dose, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.

The state expects to receive 20,950 doses each week for the foreseeable future.

Over the past six weeks, Central District Health has received a combined 35,650 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines: 22,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 13,650 doses of Pfizer’s. In response, Treasure Valley hospital systems are expanding their vaccine operations.

Southwest District Health, which oversees six counties including Canyon, has distributed 9,220 doses. It expects to receive 1,750 each week over the next two weeks, Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling said Friday.

VACCINE APPOINTMENTS

Here’s a look at some of the COVID-19 vaccine appointments offered in the Treasure Valley, but it’s not an all-inclusive list. Check with your provider for more information.

Saint Alphonsus Health System: Saint Al’s has set up additional vaccination clinics, beginning this weekend, at its Regional Medical Center in Boise and Nampa medical center off Garrity Boulevard. The clinics are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. In addition, vaccination clinics are available at various Saint Alphonsus Medical Group clinic locations. Patients will be required to go through screening upon entering the hospitals and wear masks.

“We are vaccinating eligible Idahoans who are in the phase 2.1 group; frontline and essential workers, including pre-K through 12th grade teachers and staff, daycare workers, first responders and public safety workers,” according to a Saint Al’s spokesman. “We will be offering vaccinations to those 65+ when Idaho moves to that group in February.”

Vaccination clinics will continue for the foreseeable future, as Idaho’s vaccination plans are implemented. Online scheduling for eligible workers can be found at saintalphonsus.org/getvaccinated.

Patients do not need to be Saint Alphonsus patients to get vaccinated. First-tier health care workers who have not yet received their vaccines are also encouraged to schedule their appointments.

St. Luke’s Health System: St. Luke’s on Wednesday opened additional vaccine appointments for the designated groups. Appointment scheduling is open for Phase 1 and 2.1 individuals. Patients must provide proof of their job at their appointment. Scheduling can be done through a patient’s myChart account with St. Luke’s or by calling 208-381-9500.

Primary Health: Call a clinic near you to set up an appointment if you are in one of the designated groups.

Terry Reilly Health Services: Health care workers, long-term facility residents and front-line essential workers are eligible to be vaccinated at its locations in Canyon and Owyhee counties.

Family Medicine Health Center: Established patients that are part of designated groups in Boise, Meridian and Kuna may call 208-514-2500 to set up an appointment; established patients in Nampa may call 208-954-8687.

Saltzer Health is offering appointments for COVID-19 vaccines at urgent care clinics in Meridian and Caldwell.

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