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Idaho governor will wait turn to get coronavirus vaccination

by KEITH RIDLER Associated Press
| December 15, 2020 4:00 PM

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Gov. Brad Little will wait his turn in line to get a coronavirus vaccination, a spokeswoman for the 66-year-old Republican governor said Tuesday.

Marissa Morrison said that the state’s limited supply of the vaccine is prioritized for frontline health care workers and the most vulnerable citizens.

“The governor has confidence in the vaccine and intends to receive his when eligible," Morrison said in an email to The Associated Press.

The governor has never tested positive for the virus, she said.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said it expects the state to receive its initial allotment of 13,650 doses from Pfizer and BioNTech by the end of this week.

Little said on social media Monday that the first COVID-19 vaccine in Idaho has been administered to a physician in the eastern part of the state.

St. Luke's Health System, based in Boise, said Tuesday that it had received 975 doses and planned to begin administering them to frontline healthcare workers by the end of the week.

Healthcare officials said the virus has been surging in Idaho and fear delayed or no treatment for some patients if the system is overwhelmed with patients. Heart attack or car-crash victims, for example, might not get treatment if there isn't room or anyone available.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said the virus has infected more than 120,000 residents and killed nearly 1,200.

The Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee has set up a priority list for groups of people to get the vaccine.

The list starts with healthcare workers, and first on that list are those who come in direct contact with COVID-19 patients. They are followed by outpatient staff essential for maintaining hospital capacity. Others high on the list include staff at long-term care facilities, home-care providers, and emergency medical responders.

Residents of long-term care facilities are also in the initial category of those receiving the shots. Older adults are much more susceptible to serious illness or death from the virus.

The next category eligible to get the vaccine are essential workers. That category leads off with firefighters and police, followed by school teachers and daycare workers.

Prison workers, workers in the food processing industry, and workers at grocery stores and convenience stores are also on that list.