First week in PHD COVID vaccine clinics a success

The Panhandle Health District (PHD) had a successful first week of COVID-19 vaccination clinics, administering 2,280 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to community members. In fact, the clinics were so successful that all the available appointments were booked by Thursday of last week at noon. PHD is working to add additional dates in the coming weeks to continue hosting these clinics.

“We are pleased that so many people in our community are eager to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Don Duffy, Health Services Administrator at PHD. “With that being said, supply is still limited and that is why it is imperative that we stick with the phased vaccine approach. The Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee has created the phases and as an enrolled provider, we are obligated to adhere to the guidelines in accordance with the Governor’s recommendations. We ask that each individual wait for their specific phase to receive the vaccine.”

Currently the vaccine clinics that PHD is hosting are available to those who are in the Phase 1a and the top priority groups in the Phase 1b categories of the vaccine distribution plan.

Phase 1a includes:

  • Hospital staff essential for care of COVID-19 patients
  • Long-term care facility residents and staff (vaccine administration provided through the Pharmacy Partnership Program)
  • Outpatient & Inpatient clinic/medical staff who are unable to telework
  • Home healthcare providers
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants
  • Pharmacists, pharmacy techs, and pharmacy aides
  • Emergency management response workers
  • Coroners
  • First Responders
  • School Nurses

Phase 1b includes, in this priority order:

  • Pre-K-12 School Employees & Childcare Workers
  • Adults age 65 and older
  • Frontline Essential Workers including: Food & Agriculture, Manufacturing, Corrections Workers, U.S. Postal Service Workers, Public Transit Workers, Grocery Store Workers

“We will be asking those who attend our vaccine clinics to provide proof of age or proof of employment,” said Duffy. “This will help us ensure that we are following the CVAC phases properly.”

PHD will focus on completing vaccines for those in Phase 1a and vaccinating pre-K-12 school employees and childcare workers next. That will be coordinated through employers as vaccination clinics become available.

There is no requirement or pre-approval you need from a provider to receive the vaccine. If someone wishes to consult with their medical provider to discuss the vaccine due to health conditions or if they simply have questions, then that is encouraged.

PHD expects to continue to receive shipments of vaccine weekly. Part of the shipments will be kept for PHD vaccine clinics, and the rest will be distributed to healthcare providers who have enrolled to administer the vaccine.

The federal government has set up a pharmacy partnership program that is deploying strike teams to ensure long-term care facility residents and staff are vaccinated. The vaccine allocation to the pharmacy partnership program is not included in the above numbers.

Panhandle Health District will continue to communicate with the community as greater supply of the vaccine becomes available. If you are a part of the first priority groups, the health district and community partners enrolled to administer the vaccine will coordinate with your employer as vaccine is made available.

If you have questions about COVID-19 in our area, call PHD’s COVID-19 hotline, 1-877-415-5225 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.