MERIDIAN — Crush the Curve Idaho on Thursday launched a COVID-19 vaccine awareness campaign focused on providing a central location for vaccine information, education and resources for Idahoans.
Called "Vaccinate the 208," the campaign seeks to help Idahoans understand when and where they can get vaccinated.
Idahoans have expressed frustration and confusion about the state's rollout. Idaho has the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the country, according to a collection of data by the New York Times. Six percent of the state's population has received the first dose and 1.4% the second dose. Alaska has the highest vaccination rate with 13% of its population receiving a first dose and 3.8% a second dose.
“We can’t just sit back and watch Idaho win the gold medal for the worst vaccine roll out,” Tina Upson, executive director of Crush the Curve Idaho, said in a statement.
Crush the Curve's announcement said its leaders have been in talks with state officials on how to help ramp up vaccine administration quickly and efficiently.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare did not respond to a request for comment by 5 p.m. Thursday from the Idaho Press about Crush the Curve's announcement.
Crush the Curve Idaho formed in April 2020, when a collection of Idaho businesses unveiled a large-scale testing effort — spearheaded in part by Boise real estate developer and former emergency room physician Dr. Tommy Ahlquist.
The organization is an approved vaccine provider with the state, but has not been supplied any vaccines because of the low supply allocations from the federal government.
Idaho has over 100,000 unused COVID-19 vaccine doses as Tuesday, state officials said; vaccine planners are making plans to shuffle vials around when providers don't use them, the Post Register reported.
“We stand ready to help get these unused vaccines in the arms of Idahoans. Mass vaccination sites, rural clinics — wherever we are needed, we are up for the challenge,” Ahlquist said in a statement.
“Until the state is ready, the demand for a clear channel of information is desperately needed,” he added. “That is something the Crush the Curve Idaho can help with right now.”
Idahoans age 65 and up, along with health care workers, educators, long-term care facility staff and residents, and other types of essential workers are eligible for a vaccine.
More than a quarter-million Idahoans currently qualify — but the state is only getting about 25,000 doses a week, according to the Post Register.
"It’s going to be a while before we work through this pipeline,” Gov. Brad Little said Tuesday.
The White House plans to begin sending more doses directly to pharmacies next week. Little estimated this would boosts Idaho's supply by 2,000 vaccines during the first week. He said he would continue efforts for Idaho to obtain more vaccines, and asked residents not to make multiple appointments with different providers.