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Idaho vaccine rollout: National statistics don’t tell the full story

Gov. Brad Little believes the true story behind Idaho’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout success is more nuanced
Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 5:47 PM MST
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Gov. Brad Little responded “no” when asked whether national statistics are an accurate way of judging Idaho’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

“A lot of it has to do with population,” Little said. “Idaho has a younger population. As everyone knows, we’re the fastest-growing state in the nation, and to a certain extent, we get discriminated against for that.”

One area in which Idaho has done well is the percentage of distributed vaccines that have been administered. In other words, of the doses received by Idaho, over 91% have been given to Idahoans, which ranks among the top 10 states nationally. Also, sometimes lost in the general national figures, is Idaho’s improved position in second doses administered. This means Idaho is doing better compared to several states in terms of ensuring residents receive not just one, but both doses of the vaccine.

“It’s a testament to providers,” Little said. “Idaho is a little different than most states. Other states have many mass vaccination sites; but, in almost all cases in Idaho, you sign up for a date and time with your local provider.”

Despite context being necessary in order to accurately judge the success of Idaho’s vaccine rollout, Little is glad Idahoans are interested in staying up to date with vaccination data.

“I think it’s great that people are looking at the data,” Little said. “The more people who know about this the better; but, I would have them look at our Idaho coronavirus website. Don’t just go to those other websites.”

Behind the statistics, however, are people like Christine Gunnell who, in the 22nd year of her teaching career, is looking forward to moving on with her life post-vaccination.

“I’m excited that I can have this vaccine,” Gunnell said. “I won’t worry me any longer that I’m going to spread coronavirus to my family.”

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