A reminder from DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Working together toward a new normal

COVID-19, no matter who you are or where you live, has changed your life. But as the rate of infections begin to slow in Idaho (only about 10 cases per 100,000 residents) and more and more Idahoans choose to get vaccinated each day, the signs of recovery are everywhere. More activities are taking place, vacations are being planned, and more and more people are slowly returning to their pre-pandemic lives.

And, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently eased its guidelines on wearing masks outdoors for fully vaccinated people: no need to cover your face anymore unless you are in a big crowd of people. That’s good news for the more than 500,000 fully vaccinated Idahoans.

The new normal looks and means something different to each of us. For me, it’s time with my grandkids.

In Idaho today, we are still working diligently to help those who choose to get vaccinated to be able to do so at their convenience. Those 16 and older are now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. There is no cost to you, and it is now more convenient than ever to get the vaccine. If you choose to get the vaccine, you can do so at your convenience. On the covidvaccine.idaho.gov website, you can:

  • Sign up and have a provider call you
  • Use the vaccine finder and find a walk-in location near you (Walmart, Albertsons, Bi-Mart, Walgreens, Customedica, and Fred Meyer all are accepting walk-in customers)
  • Schedule an appointment at your convenience on line or calling a local provider

When you choose to get vaccinated, you are choosing to protect yourself and your community. Vaccines are the most effective way to protect yourself and those you love from infectious diseases. You can see evidence of that in our decreased case counts and hospitalizations, especially among older Idahoans who were some of the first to be vaccinated.

Vaccines work to strengthen your immune system by training it to recognize, and fight against, specific diseases. There’s a reason why we don’t hear much about diseases such as polio and measles. It’s because the vaccines have done their job. Read more about how vaccines have changed the course of infectious disease in the United States on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.


I want to address some of the inaccurate information we continue to see on social media or hear about through other channels. I would encourage you to share accurate information available on the state’s coronavirus website or the CDC.

  • Vaccine passports: Gov. Brad Little signed an executive order banning any state entity from requiring vaccine passports to receive public services or access facilities.
  • Infertility: There is NO scientific evidence to suggest the vaccine causes infertility. And, infertility is not known to have occurred from a natural COVID-19 infection.
  • Cancer: None of the vaccines can alter your genes in any way, and therefore cannot cause cancer.
  • Autism: Vaccines do not cause autism. Numerous studies have proven this to be false.
  • Mandatory: The vaccine is absolutely NOT mandated by local, state, or the federal government. Private companies may choose to impose vaccine requirements, however.

Here in Idaho, we respect personal freedoms. We respect your right to make the best decisions for your family when it comes to healthcare. We also know that the people of Idaho are good neighbors who care about each other. I want to thank you all for choosing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

I hope you all have a safe and healthy weekend.  

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