The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has published a tentative timeline of when Idahoans can expect to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The rollout is in phases over the course of the next five months. This plan is dependent on the amount of vaccine Idaho receives and the number of people who decide to get vaccinated.
“We are working with our community partners to get as much vaccine to our citizens as possible, but Idaho will not, nor will any state, have enough to vaccinate everyone right off the bat,” said Maggie Mann, Southeastern Idaho Public Health Director. “Priorities have been set at a national and state level to help protect our most vulnerable as well as those on the front lines of the pandemic.”
Vaccinations of healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents began on Dec. 17, and will continue through January.
Based upon vaccine supply, beginning in February essential workers and older adults 75 years of age and older will be offered the vaccine. Essential workers designated in this group are:
•School Staff including childcare workers
•Correctional and detention facility staff
•Food processing workers
•Grocery and convenience store workers
•Idaho National Guard
•Other essential workers unable to telework or distance from others at work.
In April older adults 65 years of age or older, people age 16 – 64 years of age with medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19 and essential workers not included in previous phase will receive their vaccination.
It is estimated that the COVID-19 vaccine will not be offered to the general public until May of 2021. Children under the age of 16 are not included in the vaccine rollout, as the FDA has not yet approved its use for individuals who fall into this category. More clinical trials involving children under 16 are still needed.
The potential side effects from the vaccine are similar to those experienced by people who receive the flu shot: soreness at the injection site, fever, headaches, and body aches that usually go away within 24 hours.
“This vaccine provides hope, but we are not in the clear yet,” said Mann. “We are still in for a very difficult winter. Please make the choice to wear a mask when interacting with others. It’s a simple action to protect our community, until we can vaccinate enough people to reduce the impact of this virus. Practice six feet social distancing. Don’t gather with friends or family outside your immediate household. Wash your hands frequently and stay home if you are sick. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Stay vigilant.
”If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, make sure to self-isolate. If you need medical attention, please call your healthcare provider in advance of a visit to discuss your symptoms and next steps.
SIPH has a call center to field questions from the community and is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can reach the hotline at (208) 234-5875.For southeast Idaho specific information about the novel coronavirus, please visit https://siphidaho.org/coronavirus.php. For Idaho-specific information about the novel coronavirus, please visit https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/. Join us Monday-Friday at 11 am for Facebook Live at https://facebook.com/siphidaho.