‘Our COVID-19 ending begins today’: First COVID-19 vaccinations administered in N. Idaho

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — Frontline workers in North Idaho have started receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.

Kootenai Health posted photos of the “First Five” health care workers getting their shots Friday morning. Of those providers, two are critical care physicians, one is a hospitalist physician, another is a respiratory therapist and the fifth is a critical care nurse.

An additional 350 caregivers will be vaccinated by the end of the weekend.

“I am very excited to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Todd Hoopman, M.D., pulmonologist and critical care physician. “It is a different type of excitement because it is tempered by the enormity of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am in awe of the science behind the vaccine and I am thankful for the dedication of so many individuals and groups that it took to bring this to us today. For the first time in months, I am able to see an end to the pandemic beginning to materialize. The final end is still quite far away but it now seems achievable.’

The Panhandle Health District received 1,950 doses of the Pzifer vaccine in its first shipment; 1,370 went to Kootenai Health and the others will be distributed to health care facilities across North Idaho.

“I am here today as one of the first recipients to show my colleagues, my co-workers and my community that I believe in this vaccine and the importance of being vaccinated in order to see the day when the COVID-19 pandemic has ended,” Hoopman said. “In turn, I ask for your trust in this process and I ask for your trust in me. My responsibility as a physician is to promote health, provide healing and alleviate suffering. COVID-19 has created too much suffering for our community and those around the United States and the world. Our COVID-19 ending begins today.”

Additional vaccinations are expected in the coming days.

Meantime, the first vaccine was also administered in Spokane County Friday morning. A transplant physician at Providence Sacred Heart got the first shot at 5:45 a.m.

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