BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Just over half of Idaho adults have now received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine — about two months after the 50% mark was reached nationwide.
Idaho Public Health Administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch told reporters Tuesday that 50.2% of adults have received at least one vaccine dose but that the state is unlikely to meet the national goal of at least 70% by July 4. Still, she said Idaho continues to make gains in vaccination rates.
Idaho has the eighth lowest adult partial COVID-19 vaccination rate in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Many Idaho residents are still reluctant to get vaccinated and have their children vaccinated and it’s difficult for some rural residents to get vaccines. Shaw-Tulloch said state officials are employing a variety of tactics to increase vaccine confidence and accessibility.
State officials are training pediatricians and other healthcare providers on how to administer and talk to patients about the vaccine. And grants are being offered to vaccine providers for mobile clinics and other efforts to increase access.
One grant recipient is partnering with Boise-area events such as the Treefort music festival to encourage people to get the vaccine while enjoying the event.
All adults in Idaho have been eligible to receive the vaccine since early April and kids ages 12 and up became eligible in mid-May.
But with low demand, vaccine providers now have more than 350,000 shots on hand — enough to last almost 16 weeks.
Idaho’s overall vaccination rate has been boosted by older adults, with more than 76% of senior citizens at least partially vaccinated. More than 56% of Idaho residents between 55 and 64 years old are at least partially vaccinated. But a majority of people in age groups younger than 55 have received no vaccine doses in Idaho.
“We’re kind of ticking along, and we’re making slow gains as people become more and more confident in the vaccine and we have more opportunities easily available,” Shaw-Tulloch said.