Idaho is expected to receive about 13,600 first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine within the next few weeks, public health officials say, of which 975 will be earmarked for the state’s north central region.

Larger allotments of the vaccine, developed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, are anticipated in the following weeks.

Tara Macke, spokeswoman for Public Health – Idaho North Central District, said three weeks after that first shipment, Idaho will receive an equivalent number of second doses. She stressed patients will only develop adequate immunity if they are vaccinated twice about three to four weeks apart.

“There may be another shipment of first doses before the end (of) December, but it is unknown how many doses it will contain at this point,” Macke said in an email. “Even so, three weeks after that shipment, they expect to get another shipment of second doses for the same number received in the shipment of first doses.”

In a briefing released Friday, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said the first phase of vaccines will be given to healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities. Skilled nurses and those working in assisted living or intermediate care facilities will be counted as healthcare workers for this phase, the briefing said.

The second phase will focus on essential workers, including but not limited to first responders, grocery store workers as well as daycare and pre-kindergarten teachers and staff.

In Moscow, Gritman Medical Center has announced its new drive-through testing site, located across Jackson Street from the hospital’s main campus, will open Monday. Gritman’s previous drive-through testing site at the Martin Wellness Center on the southern edge of town which has been in operation since July, closed Friday.

Latah County added 30 new COVID-19 cases to its count Friday, pushing its total to 1,814. So far, 1,116 people have recovered and three people have died from the virus in the county since the pandemic began.

New patients include four people younger than 18, six men and three women between the ages of 18 and 29, three women in their 30s, one man and two women in their 40s, one man and three women in their 50s, one man and one woman in their 60s, one man in his 70s, two men and one woman in their 80s and one woman in her 90s.

Also on Friday, Whitman County Public Health reported 29 new positive cases, which brings its county total to 2,429. According to a press release, four people are currently hospitalized and all others are stable and self-isolating.

Whitman County’s newest patients include four people younger than 20, eight women and seven men between the ages of 20 and 39, two women and three men between 40 and 59, two women and two men between 60 and 79 and one woman older than 80.

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