Idaho seniors can get vaccine starting Monday, even as state grapples with small shipments from CDC

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) announced that, starting Monday, people aged 65 and older will be able to get the COVID vaccine, though the state is still struggling to receive and administer doses.

DHW Director Dave Jeppeson says that, of the 181,100 vaccine doses the state has received, 96,896 doses have been administered — around 51-percent.

Currently, Idaho is getting just under 21,000 doses per week, and their partnership with pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens has not led to more widespread vaccinations like health officials hoped.

On February 1, the vaccine will become available for Idaho residents aged 65 and older.

Jeppeson said that Governor Little’s emergency declaration, which many GOP legislators have been working to overturn, is imperative for DHW’s vaccination efforts — he says that they would lose federal funding through FEMA, National Guard members, incident management teams and regional partnerships.

RELATED: Gov. Little: Idaho legislature’s attempts to end COVID emergency declaration a ‘shameful game’

Public Health Administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch noted that not all people aged 65 and older will be able to get vaccinated all at once due to the weekly doses the state is receiving.

Jeppeson later noted that Idaho received fewer doses per capita than most other states in the U.S., and has petitioned the CDC to remedy that.

Shaw-Tulloch said the state is also waiting on new vaccines, including the Janssen and Novavax vaccines, which are currently in clinical trials.

Lastly, Dr. Christine Hahn said that DHW is keeping an eye on COVID variants, but notes for now that vaccines should still be able to treat those strains — although Moderna is considering a booster dose to treat COVID variants.

RELATED: With limited vaccine, Idaho faces priority group confusion