IDAHO FALLS — Idahoans age 65 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday.
Earlier this month, healthcare workers, first responders, K-12 teachers and staff, daycare workers, and few other groups began to receive the vaccinations during their initial rollout. Next on the eligibility list are seniors, who also represent the most vulnerable demographic to the novel coronavirus.
Area vaccine providers will work with Southeastern Idaho Public Health and Eastern Idaho Public Health to begin scheduling appointments for the new priority group on Feb. 1. Since vaccine supplies continue to be limited, the appointments to receive them will initially be limited, but the area is preparing for the high demand.
At the rate Idaho is receiving vaccines, it is expected to take 13 weeks to vaccinate the new priority group, according to a SIPH press release. This means many individuals who currently qualify for the vaccine may not be able to receive their first dose for several weeks. If Idaho receives more doses than expected, the number of appointments will increase accordingly.
EIPH: Bonneville, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison, or Teton Counties
For seniors signing up for vaccination in EIPH, visit its website Saturday, Jan 30th at 9 a.m. to determine what appointment options are available in your county. These will be through public health, pharmacies, and private health care providers.
A phone line through EIPH is available for those without access to the internet starting January 30th at 9 a.m. to set up appointments and can be reached at the following numbers:
Bonneville, Clark, Fremont, Jefferson, Madison, and Teton Counties: (208) 533-3235
Custer County: (208) 879-2504
EIPH’s press release added that Teton County will be offering community-based vaccination clinics in addition each week, with more information here. Lemhi County will have a different process in place for scheduling vaccine appointments with more information on the EIPH website.
Walk-ins will not be accepted as appointments are required due to COVID safety precautions. EIPH asks that those coming to their appointments bring identification documenting age or employment status. Please wear a shirt that will allow your upper arm to be accessible for the vaccine, and wear a mask to protect yourself and the staff at the clinic.
Additionally, the health district is asking for people who are not yet eligible for the vaccine to not attempt to receive a dose before their appointed time.
SIPH: Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Caribou, and Franklin counties
For seniors signing up for vaccination in SIPH, a list of vaccine providers is available on its website. If you are not currently eligible for a vaccine but would like to be alerted when you are, you can sign up here.
“We understand that many people want to be vaccinated as soon as possible. We are asking for patience as we deal with a vaccine supply that is not sufficient to meet our demands,” Southeastern Idaho Public Health Director Maggie Mann said in the press release. “SIPH and our community partners are committed to doing everything possible to vaccinate our community, and we appreciate your understanding as we coordinate with the state and community partners to increase vaccine availability.”
SIPH estimates that by this summer, there will be enough vaccines for everyone who is recommended to have it. No out-of-pocket costs will be charged, but insurance providers may be billed for administrative costs.
The COVID-19 vaccine is administered in two separate doses, which are separated by 3 to 4 weeks. SIPH added in their press release that those who receive the vaccine may experience mild side effects including a low-grade fever, sore arm, and fatigue, but this is an indication the vaccine is working.
“This vaccine provides hope, but we are not in the clear yet,” Mann said. “While we roll these vaccines out across southeast Idaho, it is important everyone continues to do their part in fighting this pandemic by wearing masks, washing hands, and avoiding gatherings.”
For any questions, SIPH has a call center open Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (208) 234-5875.
More information on the Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine from the CDC can be found by clicking on their names.
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