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Vaccination plans falling behind initial predictions

COVID-19 vaccines distributed and going well so far

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-Plans to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine to the public are falling way behind expectations.

In Idaho, the Department of Health and Welfare has just released a new tentative timeline outlining when Idahoans can expect to be vaccinated.

Now, the plan is to roll out vaccinations in phases over the next 5 months, 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.”

Long-term care facility residents and healthcare personnel began receiving vaccinations on December 17.  That phase will continue through January.

Under the plan, essential workers and adults aged 75 or older will be offered the vaccine in February.   Essential workers include first responders, school staff, child care workers, correctional and detention facility staff, food processing workers, grocery and convenience store workers, Idaho National Guard, and other essential workers unable to telework or distance from others.

By April, adults aged 65 and older and people aged 16-64 with medical conditions that put them at risk, and other essential workers not included in the previous phase will begin to receive vaccines.

At this time, state officials do not expect the general public to have access to vaccine before May.

Children under the age of 16 are not included in the rollout plan.

Potential side effects are similar to those experienced by people who receive a flu shot.  That includes soreness at the injection site, fever, headaches, and body aches that usually go away within 24 hours.

Mann said the vaccine offers hope, but advises the end is not at hand.

“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 6 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.”

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