Wednesday, January 20, 2021
St. Luke’s Wood River Opens Vaccination Clinic for Dentists, Pharmacists and Others
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St. Luke’s Health System has made enough progress dispensing vaccines to staff and providers that it is expanding its reach.
   
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

GRAPH BY PAUL RIES

St. Luke’s Wood River is preparing to administer COVID-19 vaccines to high-risk groups in the Wood River Valley who are not St. Luke’s employees.

The Wood River vaccine clinic will kick off Thursday, Jan. 14. The South Central Public Health District in Bellevue also is now scheduling vaccines for workers included in the state’s Tier 1 vaccine group.

 
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These are the workers who can make appointments for vaccines now.
 

The list of those eligible to receive the vaccine includes all of those included in the Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Committee’s Group 1A classification.

That includes home care providers for adults 65 or older or for other adults or children with high-risk medical conditions, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) employees and outpatient and inpatient medical staff who were not included in the first wave of vaccines and who are unable to telework.

Also, dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants; pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy aides, and public health and emergency management response workers who are unable to telework.

Those workers are considered to be at high-risk for contracting and even developing severe COVID-19 symptoms due to routine exposure to COVID-positive individuals.

 
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Idaho has gained 1,981 new cases of coronavirus in the past two days for a total of 150,239. Twenty-one more Idahoans have died during that time for a total of 1,544 deaths. Blaine County has recorded 22 new cases of coronavirus in the past three days for a total of 1,627.
 

Vaccinations are NOT being given to teachers, grocery store clerks and those 75 and older at this time. They are in Group 2 and expected to be offered vaccines in February.

Only qualifying people within the specific group should schedule appointments at this time. Those who schedule will be required to provide proof of their job, such as a badge, pay stub or W2, at their appointment. Those who do not provide proof of employment will not receive a vaccine.

St. Luke’s patients can schedule appointments online using myChart at mychart.slhs.org or www.stlukesonline.org

Those who have never used St. Luke’s services may set up a myChart account by calling 208-381-9000. Those who cannot use myChart because they do not speak English, do not have the technology allowing them to access myChart or have a disability preventing them from using myChart may call St. Luke’s Connect at 208-381-9500 to set up an appointment.

COVID vaccine clinics are also being set up at St. Luke’s hospitals in McCall and Twin Falls to serve the needs of rural communities, as well as St. Luke’s facilities in the Treasure Valley.

Not everyone will be able to get a vaccine immediately due to a limited number of vaccines. People are encouraged to check back if they do not immediately receive an appointment.

St. Luke’s has administered 8,000 doses to employees and providers system-wide over the past three weeks with the majority of those first-time doses.

So far, 73 percent of St. Luke’s Wood River employees have been vaccinated, according to Joy Prudek, public relations manager for the hospital.  

“We have not been giving out how many doses we expect to receive because it changes frequently—it’s very dynamic,” she said. “But we’re able to address the next prioritized group due to quick progress made.”

To date, Idaho has administered 31,487 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 4,335 Idahoans receiving the necessary two doses. It comes as more than 1,500 Idahoans have lost their lives to COVID and the statewide positivity rate is increasing.

Nationwide the vaccine rollout has been called slow and confusing. President-elect Joe Biden’s team is acting as if they’re mobilizing for war, potentially creating federally run community vaccination centers located in high school gyms and football stadiums.

Oregon already has mobilized the National Guard to help with its its effort as the state seeks to vaccinate 250 people per hour.

Meanwhile, the Houston Methodist hospital system is offering a $500 bonus to workers who get the coronavirus vaccine to try to boost immunization rates.

Individuals interested in learning more about the vaccine as it relates to Idaho should NOT call their local St. Luke’s clinic or health care provider. A good source of vaccine information is https://www.phd5.idaho.gov/Covid-vaccine/

The South Central Public Health District is also providing information regarding vaccines for those who sign up at https://www.cognitoforms.com/SouthCentralPublicHealthDistrict/COVID19VaccineUpdateForm. This does not sign you up for the vaccine.

 

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