COVID-19 vaccine expected to be given to St Luke’s employees this week
The state is receiving the initial shipment of Pfizer and BioTech COVID vaccines and will distribute them to the seven public health districts
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - St. Luke’s is prepared to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine sometime early this week. The first vaccines are expected to be given St. Luke’s frontline health care workers by the end of the week. KMVT is putting your first with answers to some of the most relevant COVID-19 questions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of so many people in Idaho, whether it be food insecurity, unemployment or the loss of a loved one due to this deadly virus. This week signals the possible light at the end of a year filled with uncertainty, as the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon for Idahoans.
The exact dates and times for when this vaccine will be delivered and administered could change based on various logistics involved, but is expected to take place sometime this week, and will be given to the most at-risk frontline workers at St Luke’s first.
Dr. Laura McGeorge, St. Luke’s system service line medical director and infectious disease expert Dr, Sky Blue were available for media questions Monday afternoon.
“Those highest risk areas are emergency rooms, COVID units and our intensive care units,” McGeorge said.
With such a quick creation of a vaccine for a virus that has shaken the entire nation, there may be many who have concerns about the safety and side effects. Here is what Dr. Blue and had to say regarding those concerns.
“Some soreness in your arm,” Blue said. “You may have a little bit of swelling, you may have the local lymph nodes under your arm that might get swollen, and you might have a little bit of fatigue and even a low grade temperature. In the clinical trials, we have not seen any serious adverse events that we would see in any higher rates than we would expect with that number of individuals to begin with.”
They say as they move forward they continue to see more and more employees interested in taking the vaccine.
“I kind of look at it as my duty to be one of the first people stepping forward with my arm saying, ‘I trust what I have reviewed in the science,’” Blue said. “I trust the technology as it comes to fruition and I’m certainly able to put my arm forward and be that example.”
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare also issued a statement Monday saying the state is receiving 13,650 dozes of ultra-cold vaccines from Pfizer and BioTech this week. The Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee has determined health care workers in hospital and outpatients clinics will be receiving the initial doses.
The doses are going to the state’s seven public health districts based on the number of health care workers in each area, initially for those who provide care for COVID-19 patients, including those at long-term care facilities. Click here for a more detailed plan.
The state’s public health officer and administrator of the Division of Public Health Elke Shaw-Tulloch said there are not enough vaccines in the first shipment for all health care workers, but the division is thrilled to start the process.
“We know there are a lot of questions from Idahoans who want to know when they will be able to receive the vaccine,” Shaw-Tulloch said in the statement. “I am encouraged by the level of interest in the vaccine, but we don’t have all of those details yet. This is a rapidly evolving situation and things are changing quickly. We are also very concerned that we don’t rush the process; vaccinators need to make sure they have the proper tools and training to get started. But rest assured that we want to get the vaccine to as many people who want it, as quickly as possible, and we will communicate more through press releases and our coronavirus.idaho.gov website as we find out more about how many doses we will receive and when.”
Josh Jensen, the South Central Public Health District program manager, said in a statement the district is hopeful more vaccines will following in the coming weeks.
“But for now, we are doing everything we can to make this first shipment of vaccine cover as much of our district as possible,” Jensen said.
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