COVID-19 Q&A: COVID-19 Vaccine

Q: Vaccines for COVID-19 seem to be getting closer to the necessary approvals so they can be distributed to states and then given to residents. Is Idaho ready to receive the vaccine shipments?  

A: Idaho will be ready when the first shipments of the vaccine are sent. We don’t know yet exactly when that will happen, but we anticipate it could be before the end of the year. We have been enrolling healthcare providers, so they can administer the vaccine, and we have purchased seven ultra-cold freezers – one for each of Idaho’s seven local public health districts, to help store vaccines that need to be kept very cold prior to being used throughout the state.

The vaccine will be shipped after Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but will not be administered in the state until a recommendation on its use is issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). It is anticipated that the ACIP recommendation will occur very quickly after the FDA approval. 

The manufacturer of one of the vaccines (Pfizer and BioNTech) requested an EUA on Nov. 20. The FDA’s Vaccine’s & Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) is scheduled to review vaccine data from the manufacturer on Dec. 10 and make a recommendation to the FDA. If the FDA issues an EUA, then ACIP will hold an emergency meeting to consider recommendations for use of the vaccine. Immediately after ACIP’s recommendation, vaccine would be shipped to other vaccine providers from the vaccine manufacturer.

Q: Who will get the vaccine first?  

A: The vaccine will likely be available first to healthcare providers, essential workers, adults 65 years and older, and adults under the age of 65 with high-risk conditions. The Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee (CVAC) is being requested to help in prioritizing essential workers and groups at high-risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, when doses are still limited in supply. The next CVAC meeting is Dec. 4.

Q: How do we know if the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective?  

A: Idaho is committed to providing COVID-19 vaccine that is safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines are being carefully evaluated in clinical trials and will be authorized or approved only if they are shown to be safe and effective in reducing your chances of getting COVID-19.

Like all vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines will be monitored for safety even after they are authorized and recommended for use.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and how they are monitored for safety and effectiveness:

To slow the spread of COVID-19 in Idaho, please choose to:

  • Wear face coverings  
  • Keep at least six feet between you and others
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Wash your hands often
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Disinfect surfaces and objects regularly


Stay up-to-date with the latest and most accurate information on COVID-19 at the following websites:

DHW also posts lots of information, including daily updates on the numbers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Sarah Leeds is the manager of the Idaho Immunization Program in the Division of Public Health. She is leading Idaho’s planning efforts for COVID-19 vaccines.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at

6 thoughts on “COVID-19 Q&A: COVID-19 Vaccine

  1. The question and answers that you have shared with us about the covid-19 vaccine will help in clearing a lot of confusions about the vaccine. I too had many confusions about the vaccine and i was not able to find for its answers. Thank you for sharing the information with us.

  2. Sydney Welton

    My questions are; Will the vaccine be mandatory? Do we have a choice? And if we choose not to take it, will we be punished? I am greatly looking forward to answers. Thank you.

    1. idhwmedia

      Thank you for your question. There is no vaccine mandate in Idaho. Vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines approved by FDA for EUA and recommended by CDC will also be recommended in Idaho, but it will be up to individuals to make a choice about whether or not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

  3. Ron Diehl

    Where do folks over 65 with comorbidities, (not in Long Term Care) fall relative Groups 1 & 2?
    2nd question, In Idaho when do you expect folks over 65 with comorbidities to be vaccinated?
    3rd question, How will those folks know when they can be vaccinated? Will their health care provider notify them or the regional Health District–who?

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