BOISE — Treasure Valley COVID-19 vaccine facilitators have been short on supply in recent days, leading to appointment cancellations by one major health care provider and scheduling delays by another.
On Monday, the state launched phase 2.2 of its vaccine rollout plan, allowing all Idahoans 65 and older, an estimated 269,000 people, to get the shot.
Saint Alphonsus Health System, prior to Monday, began canceling appointments scheduled for this week, due to a shortage of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Saint Alphonsus’ Nampa facility canceled appointments for some patients awaiting their first dose of the vaccine, in order to prioritize those waiting for their second dose. Patients received emails over the weekend informing them of the cancellations.
“It was quite simply a case of: We did not receive the quantity of vaccines that we had anticipated, and we could not provide first doses for those patients,” said Mark Snider, spokesman for Saint Alphonsus.
Only Saint Alphonsus’ Nampa hospital was affected, Snider said, because it’s slated to administer the Moderna vaccine, while Saint Alphonsus’ Boise hospital is currently distributing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, of which the hospital has enough supply to fulfill a full-slate of appointments. Saint Alphonsus facilities in Oregon also were unaffected.
“We expected to get enough Moderna vaccine in the system that we could send to Nampa,” Snider said. “It’s unfortunate, and it’s frustrating for us, as well. We just ask that the public be patient. We know the demand is there; we wish we could meet the demand right away. It’s going to be a slower process than anyone would like.”
Saint Alphonsus will contact those whose appointments were canceled to reschedule, he said.
Meanwhile, St. Luke’s Health System saw “unprecedented interest” in the vaccine Monday morning, as phase 2.2 of the state’s vaccine rollout launched, and the health care provider made appointments available through its online scheduling system. All appointments were booked within 6 minutes — although no cancellations were made — hospital administrators said in a media call Monday afternoon.
Moving forward, appointment scheduling will be a “fluid process” as vaccines become available, said Dr. Laura McGeorge, system service-line medical director for St. Luke’s.
“We want to really ensure that we have the vaccines either on hand or ordered, en route, that we can confirm … before we schedule,” she said. “On top of what we had available at 8 a.m. this morning, throughout the day today, we have added 1,500 more appointments based on confirmation of 1,500 more vaccines. It’s going to be that kind of a fluid process where we just keep releasing appointments as we can confirm that we’re getting vaccine in.”
St. Luke’s administrators urged patients to continue to monitor myChart, its online scheduling platform, for upcoming availability.
Primary Health Medical Group said it is still scheduling vaccine appointments by invitation only — sent by email, text or phone message, KTVB reports. Appointments begin with the most at-risk patients, based on age and health history.
“We are committed to vaccinating all patients as soon as possible based on vaccine supply,” a Primary Health spokeswoman told KTVB in a statement.
If you live in Ada County, you can find a list of vaccine providers and instructions on making an appointment on Central District Health’s website, cdh.idaho.gov/covid-vaccine, or by calling the district’s call center at 208-321-2222.
If you live in Canyon County, find information on Southwest District Health’s website, phd3.idaho.gov/covid19/#Vaccine, or by calling the hotline during business hours at 208-455-5411.