(Idaho Governor’s Office Press Release, October 21, 2020)
Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little announced the membership of the Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee, which will have its first meeting Friday.
“The availability of a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine is one of the biggest hurdles in getting our lives closer to normal. Here in Idaho, we have been planning for months for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, and our COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee will stay focused on making sure Idaho is ready when the initial supply becomes available,” Governor Little said.
Committee members represent stakeholders from across Idaho, including the tribes, priority populations, healthcare systems and providers, and immunization organizations. They will lend their broad expertise to best enhance Idaho’s vaccine distribution plan in adherence with federal guidance and requirements.
A full list of the committee’s members is available at https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/idaho-covid-19-vaccine-advisory-committee/.
The initial supply of vaccine is expected to be limited. Although the federal government has not made the final decision yet, it is expected the vaccine likely will be offered first to healthcare workers. Vaccinating healthcare workers will protect them and their patients.
While Idaho has experience in prioritizing scarce medical supplies, developing prioritization plans for the H1N1 swine flu vaccine in 2009, and for the antiviral remdesivir to treat COVID-19 earlier this year, the level of vaccine distribution amid this pandemic will be unprecedented.
“We want to assure Idahoans that vaccine safety is our No. 1 priority,” said Elke Shaw-Tulloch, state public health officer and executive secretary for the committee. “The committee will advise Governor Little and the Department of Health and Welfare on vaccine implementation strategies to ensure broad vaccination coverage throughout the state.”
The advisory committee’s timely creation will ensure a coordinated approach with Idaho’s COVID-19 interim vaccine distribution plan, which was submitted to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention by the Oct. 16 deadline.
Meetings of the COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee are open to the public and meeting dates and details will be made available at https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/.