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St. Luke’s Enhances Dashboard for ‘the Most Safe Vaccines Ever Released’
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Monday, February 15, 2021
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTO BY ANNE JEFFERY

St. Luke’s hopes to introduce an enhanced COVID-19 data dashboard this morning designed to keep the public informed about the supply, administration and efficiency of the COVID-19 vaccine.

It will include such information as total doses received, total doses administered, how many are first doses and how many are boosters, total doses on hand and scheduled appointments.

"I feel like we've been able to hit the mark of trying to make sure that the vaccines that have been entrusted to us are actually getting to the people that need them," said Scott Milner, senior director of Pharmacy for St. Luke’s Health System. "About 94% of the vaccines that we have been allocated on average have made it into the arms of someone from our state."

Saint Alphonsus in Boise is also tweaking its COVID-19 vaccine dashboard to increase transparency.

Milner said St. Luke’s started out getting shipments of vaccine on Monday. Now, more are coming in mid-week and some are starting to come later in the week.

But the expectation of increased doses so far has not come to fruition, said Saint Alphonsus Safety Officer Katy Quinn.

Milner concurred: “Initially, last fall, we were talking about giving 700 vaccines a week. When we got the first shipment in our hands, we realized that wasn’t fast enough. So, we’ve adjusted and are going faster than anticipated. We’ve asked a lot of our employees to work extra hours. The problem is, we haven’t seen a real increase in inventory coming into the state.”

Saint Alphonsus has the capacity to administer 9,000 doses a week and is prepared to mobilize additional capacity as soon as supply increases, said Quinn.

Most of the boosters arrive three to five days ahead of the time they need to be put into people’s arms.

Dr. Laura McGeorge, medical director for primary and specialty care at St. Luke’s, said sometimes St. Luke’s gets just enough doses to cover the booster shots it needs to administer. When that happens, the hospital can’t administer first doses to new patients.

“We have an obligation to get people their second vaccine. So, if we only get enough for the booster shots, we can’t open any new vaccine appointments,” she said.

Sometimes the hospital gets a lot of Moderna vaccine, Milner said. Other weeks it gets a lot of Pfizer shots. Those weeks St. Luke’s Wood River won’t see any shots because it’s a dedicated Moderna site since the Moderna vaccine does not require the extreme refrigeration that Pfizer vaccines need.

Idaho will get more vaccine in time, but it won’t happen in the next few weeks, said Dr. Steven Nemerson, chief clinical officer for Saint Alphonsus.

Milner said there was a low, low no-show rate among hospital employees getting the vaccine. But St. Luke’s is seeing between 20 and 30 no shows out of every 400 people it is vaccinating across its system.

“It’s not uncommon to have 10 no shows at any given time,” he said. It’s possible some people are booking more than one appointment and not cancelling other appointments after they score a vaccine, he added.

Nemerson said he believes it’s a civic responsibility to get the vaccine, not only to protect oneself but one’s community.

“You’re preventing the transmission of the virus through you to someone else. If could get everyone in Idaho immunized, we could eradicate the virus in Idaho completely,” he said.

Nemerson added that the COVID-19 vaccines are among the most safe and effective vaccines ever released.

“The science behind them is very, very clear and the protection for those who receive it is remarkable,” he said. “Fewer than .2 percent have had a severe allergic reaction and vast majority of those are those we can predict will have a response.”

More than 50 million doses have been administered and 70 million doses have been distributed, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Idaho got a big boost this past week with the addition of 5,000 doses provided to Albertsons and Walmart increasing the state’s total weekly allotment to 30,000 doses. The 5,000 doses are slated to continue to come each week, with the number of participating pharmacies eventually expanding to 40,000 outlets.

Meanwhile number of new cases nationwide has declined from more than 300,000 a day to about 100,000. Health officials credit that in part to vaccines and also to the number of people who have been infected.


 

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