COVID-19 Q&A: Idaho’s vaccine distribution plan

Coming up at 10 a.m. Wednesday: Facebook Live with Sarah Leeds, manager of the Idaho Immunization Program. Send your vaccine distribution questions ahead of time to or watch live on Wednesday and type your vaccine distribution questions into the comments. We will answer as many on-topic questions as we can until 10:25, when Sarah has to join another meeting. We’ll consider off-topic questions for future FB Live events. Join us!

Q: When is COVID-19 vaccine arriving in Idaho and how many doses will the state get initially?

A: COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech is arriving in Idaho this week, and by the end of the week the state is expecting to have received all or most of our initial allotment of 13,650 doses of the ultra-cold vaccine. The initial shipments are for healthcare workers, and then later this month, residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

Q: Who gets COVID-19 vaccine first?

A: Phase 1a includes healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities. Skilled nurses and those working in assisted living and intermediate care facilities are counted as healthcare workers in this phase.

More specifically, the initial shipment of vaccine is destined for hospital staff and outpatient clinic staff who provide care for COVID-19 patients. The facilities will determine a schedule for their workers.

The Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee (CVAC) has made recommendations on which populations should be prioritized for Phase 1b. The decision will ultimately be made by Gov. Brad Little.

CVAC is recommending that Phase 1b of the vaccination plan include essential workers not included in Phase 1a. CVAC is recommending the following types of essential workers be prioritized for vaccination in Phase 1b in the following order:

  • First responders, including fire, police, protective services and community support personnel.
  • Pre-K-12 school staff and teachers and daycare workers
  • Correctional and detention facility staff, except medical staff already in Phase 1a
  • Food processing workers
  • Grocery and convenience store workers
  • Idaho National Guard
  • Other essential workers not already included and unable to telework or social distance at work

The list of recommended priority groups can be found on the coronavirus website at

Q: How can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

A: The state is working with public health districts, hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and other facilities who will be receiving and administering early vaccine doses.

Information about how to obtain a vaccine will be forthcoming. The list of recommended priority groups can be found on the coronavirus website at

Q: Who decides the priority groups for the vaccine?

A: Idaho’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee (CVAC) discusses recommendations for sub-priority tiers in each phase of COVID-19 vaccination to advise the Governor. Sub-prioritization in Idaho for each phase is voted on by CVAC and a final decision is made by the Governor. As final approval is given to the priority populations, the determinations will be released to the public. CVAC’s next meeting is Dec. 18.

Q: When will we have more information about the other priority groups, phases?

A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will meet and vote on further recommendations on priority groups. Idaho CVAC follows the recommendations of ACIP and votes on sub-prioritization of priority groups recommended by ACIP. The final decisions will be made by the Governor.

Q: Who is authorized to administer the vaccines? How many providers are enrolled?

A: Any Idaho facility, organization, or healthcare provider licensed to possess or administer vaccine or provide vaccination services is eligible to enroll in Idaho’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program. The enrollment process consists of completion of the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement, Supplemental COVID-19 Vaccine Redistribution Agreement, and completing provider training.

Provider enrollment numbers will be available soon on a public vaccine dashboard that will be accessible via

To slow the spread of COVID-19 in Idaho, please continue 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 Idaho Immunization Program manager and the lead for Idaho’s vaccine distribution plans in the Division of Public Health in the Department of Health and Welfare.

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

9 thoughts on “COVID-19 Q&A: Idaho’s vaccine distribution plan

  1. As a NEMT transport business, we would like to know when our staff is scheduled for vaccinations. We are very close to Frontline workers, entering hospital covid floors and long-term facilities. We feel getting our staff vaccinated should be consider a priority. Please advise us on how to proceed and when we would be notified.

    Guy Haight, owner and operator.
    Your Best Transport

  2. Kellye, Pharm D

    Same question as previous comment. Our pharmacy staff tests Covid patients daily and want to know how we are to get the vaccine. I contacted Southwest District Health and am waiting for a response.

  3. William H Hall

    For the most part, people in the medical field with ages 30 to 50 that get covid-19 do not die from it. Yet 80% of the deaths occur to people 65 or older! I’m 85, in highest death bracket, yet I can’t get the vaccine now!!!!?????? Giving vaccines to 65 and older will reduce the number of cases to which medical people will be exposed!!!!!!!

  4. Sheila Harris

    I am 65 and my husband 75. I would just like to get a straight answer of when we will be able to get the vaccine? According to the Idaho Coronavirus website, we are in the dreaded age zone. We don’t feel we can leave our home. Please just let us know when it will be available to the older people that are still living in their own homes.

    1. idhwmedia

      Thank you for your patience as COVID-19 vaccine is rolled out in phases. Idaho is still in the first phase, when healthcare workers and residents and staff in long-term care facilities are being vaccinated. People over the age of 75 were recently recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to be prioritized in the next phase of vaccine administration.  However, the exact timeline is still unknown for a variety of reasons such as how much vaccine Idaho receives and how many people decide to get it. Roughly, it is estimated the next phase of vaccine will begin in February and go through early spring.  For the latest information on vaccine priority groups, including how the groups are determined, visit

  5. Anthony Jones

    I am concerned that too much weight is being given to non-critical health care workers and not enough to age in determining the initial access to the Covid-19 vaccine.

    I agree that for emergency room and ICU docs and nurses, the vaccine is a high priority. However, for non-critical hospital staff, age should be the primary determinant for early access to the Covid-19 vaccine.

    The idea, indeed the medical creed, calls for doing that which does the most good. For those under 50, one thousand people need to be vaccinated to save one life. For those over 80, vaccinating one thousand people will save 141 lives.

    The choice is clear, even for the majority of people in the health care industry, those over the age of 60, particularly those in assisted living and other group setting, should receive vaccinations prior to anyone younger than that who is free from complicating health conditions.

    Anthony Jones
    Rocky Mountain Econometrics
    P.O. Box 1914
    Boise, ID

  6. cbraun

    Hi, just want to re-iterate the concerns on age. My mom is 78 and has COPD but according to the current plan she is not eligible for a vaccine until April. Should I put her in a nursing home or make her get a job bagging groceries so that she can move up in line? This is alarming. I am a non-essential 51 year old and happy to be last in line but our over 65 population need to be moved up.

  7. Brenda Rich

    So the highest death rate aged people won’t get vaccine until April?
    Since it’s April which vaccine will be available? The least effective one?

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