BGH defers local vaccine efforts to pharmacies, other providers

Idaho COVID cases trending at lowest point since June

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

Novel coronavirus vaccination appointments opened earlier this month for anyone 16 and older across Idaho. Meanwhile, in Bonner County, providers are seeing a decrease in demand — so much so, that Bonner General Health will no longer be offering the shots.

Courtesy photo.

Bonner General Health administered its most recent round of first vaccine doses April 5, with the second doses in that series scheduled for May 3.

“Bonner General Health took a leading role in vaccinating the community as soon as they were available,” Trish Mayhew, registered nurse and COVID vaccine clinic coordinator, told the Reader. “We were able to be on the front lines due to pharmacy and storage capability while our community partners developed processes and resources.”

After having delivered more than 8,000 vaccinations, Mayhew said “requests have declined, with many spots remaining open, including many no-shows and cancellations.” 

Now that doses are available at “most local pharmacies,” as well as from Panhandle Health District, Kaniksu Health Services and Family Health Center, she said BGH is transitioning away from being a COVID-19 vaccine destination.

“BGH has opted to step back from distribution now that more providers are up and running,” Mayhew said, “but we remain available if the demand increases in the future.”

Pharmacies where the COVID-19 vaccine is available in Bonner County include Sandpoint Super Drug, Safeway Pharmacy in Sandpoint, White Cross Pharmacy in Sandpoint and Priest River, and at Wal-Mart Pharmacy in Ponderay. It is recommended to call or visit your desired location to inquire about vaccine availability and set up an appointment.

As of April 21, state health officials reported that 577,149 Idahoans had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In Bonner County, Panhandle Health District reported that 13,482 people had received at least one shot. According to Idaho’s coronavirus reporting website — — those numbers come out to 41.2% of people 16 and older halfway through their shot series, and 30.5% fully vaccinated. Officials announced April 13 that the state has set a goal to vaccinate 80% of Idaho citizens by September.

The Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine remains out of circulation, due to a April 13 federal recommendation to put the shots on “pause” after six women across the U.S. developed rare blood clots within two weeks of their vaccination. 

In a joint statement, CDC and FDA officials said, “[p]eople who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.”

As for statewide coronavirus case trends, there appears to be good news across Idaho as a whole. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported April 19 that the state’s seven-day moving average for new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases hit its lowest point since June 2020, with an average of 219 new cases each day over the past week. The Idaho Statesman reported that in mid-December 2020, Idaho was reporting up to 1,600 new cases per day.

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