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Can You Get a Vaccine in Idaho if You’re a Part-Timer in Blaine County?
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St. Luke’s employees like Nancy Roberts are among those getting the first round of vaccines in Idaho.
 
 
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

COVID GRAPH BY PAUL RIES

What if you’re a part-time resident of Blaine County but you consider Seattle or San Francisco your primary residence?

What if you’re here for four months of skiing, due to return home in mid-April?

Can you get the vaccine in Idaho?

Several Eye on Sun Valley readers have asked whether vaccines distributed in Idaho are being limited to Idaho residents. One reader said she’s on a waiting list in her home state and will return home if her number comes up. But she wondered whether vaccines would also be available to non-residents in Blaine County.

The answer is yes.

You can get a vaccine in Idaho if you are here when it’s your turn based on the vaccine timeline. There is no residency requirement to get a COVID-19 vaccine, said Niki Forbing-Orr, public information manager for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

Presumably, if you get the first dose here, you can follow up with the second dose in your home state should you return home before getting the second dose.

To date there have been 20,843 vaccine doses administered in Idaho.

Idaho’s COVID Vaccine Committee recently released a preliminary timeline of who should get the vaccine after  health care workers and nursing home staff and residents have been vaccinated. That timeline puts those 75 and older and essential workers like teachers and convenience store clerks next, following guidance released from the Centers for Disease Control.

But that could change when the Vaccine Committee meets from noon to 2 p.m. Friday. The Vaccine Committee will discuss who should get the vaccine next and present its recommendations to the governor.

And Idaho health officials expect the discussion to be heated.

Those participating in an AARP call with the governor on Tuesday raised strong objections to the CDC’s guidelines, claiming that those 65 and older should be next in line since they’re the ones who are disproportionately dying of COVID. Those 65 and older count for only 14 percent of reported COVID cases but they comprise 81 percent of COVID deaths.

“These are not easy discussions and we know people’s opinions will differ,” said Dr. Christine Hahn, Idaho’s epidemiologist. “There have been intense discussions at the national level about this and I know we will have intense discussions Friday about whether we should follow the CDC’s path or whether the committee feels it needs to go a different way.”

The state of Oregon decided those 65 and older should be included among the next to be vaccinated so there is room for states to do something different, added Elke Shaw-Tulloch, administrator of public health for Idaho.

If Idaho’s Vaccine Committee recommends that those 65 and older should be vaccinated next and the governor approves, those Idahoans would be able to get their vaccines at the same time as front-line essential workers, Shaw-Tulloch added.


 

 

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