TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX)-Local healthcare providers and the South Central Public Health District are getting ready to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to people 65 and older.

South Central Public Health District (SCPHD) announced group 2.2, those 65 and older of the general public, will be able to start scheduling vaccination through the various providers on February 1. “This group includes many of our residents at highest risk for severe cases of COVID-19. We are eager to give them another tool to stay healthy in this pandemic,” said Melody Bowyer, SCPHD Director said in a prepared statement.

Health officials say it will take weeks to vaccinate this priority group as the state is given a limited amount of the vaccine. A recent Associated Press report indicated that Idaho was only getting 10,298 doses per 100,000 people, a small number compared to other states. According to the state coronavirus website, close to 109,000 people have been given the vaccine, either a single dose or both. SCPHD said if the state gets more doses they've be able to schedule more appointments. The health district is also reserving the first few Monday vaccine clinics for people ages 75 and up. Officials say this age group has been hit the hardest with the highest death rate from COVID-19, 68 percent of the deaths in the Magic Valley region.

The health district said it will only be able to schedule appointments a week in advance because of the inconsistent delivery of the vaccine to the state. A waiting list for people in group 2.2 has been made who want to receive the vaccine. The list will then be used to fill in appointment in the future. A form has been provided for people wanting the vaccine. Vaccines will not be given to people without an appointment. SCPHD said it expects demand for the vaccine to go up as soon as group 2.2 is opened and encouraged those in group 1 and subgroup 2.1 to make an appointment as soon as they can. SCPHD said people are being asked to honor their appointments because the vaccine has to prepared before being given and if someone skips their appointment the dose may be unusable.

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