Since the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines began about three weeks ago, two people in Idaho have reported allergic reactions to the treatment.

Christine Hahn, an infectious disease specialist with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, gave a report of the adverse reactions to the vaccination that are being tracked by the state and the federal government to a virtual meeting Friday of the Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee.

Both of the adverse reactions, Hahn said, were reported Dec. 22 and occurred in people who have had allergic reactions to other vaccines in the past.

“We may eventually have three or more vaccines to use,” Hahn said. “So this will be an ever-growing challenge to monitor for safety.”

All health care providers are required to report any moderate to severe adverse reactions they’re aware of, she said. This does not include sore arms from the shot.

But the general public also can report adverse reactions to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, Hahn said, the state has received 10 such reports and those are all being tracked.

“We are starting to get incredibly rich information,” she said. “The CDC is screening them and we also are tracking incoming reports.”

Because the COVID-19 vaccines are so new and have been approved for emergency use, they are being tracked carefully. Hahn said the allergic reactions to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines have been running about 11 reports per million doses. That is quite rare, she said, but it’s still higher than other vaccines.

So far, Idaho has received 19,450 total doses of the vaccines, which include the second doses. According to a recent report, the Biden administration intends to release all the doses together without holding back a second dose, which would likely speed up the allocation plan that is now in place.

More information about Idaho’s phased plans for vaccination rollout can be found online at:

Whitman County Public Health Department issued a news release Friday saying that since the vaccine first arrived in the county Dec. 17, enrolled providers have been vaccinating people in the Phase 1A group that was determined by the Washington State Department of Health.

As of Thursday, there have been more than 1,050 vaccinations given to this group and through next week about 500 additional vaccinations will occur in the same group. These include health care providers, emergency services workers and laboratory specialists.

Vaccinations to staff and residents of long-term care facilities in Whitman County are expected to receive vaccinations by next week.

The state of Washington is still in Phase 1A of vaccinations and will continue to be for the next few weeks, the news release said. Movement to further phases of the state allocation framework depends on federal movement of the vaccine to the states. The county will communicate to the public when the state moves to the next phase.

The health department is coordinating regularly with Pullman Regional Hospital, Palouse Medical, Whitman Hospital and Medical Clinics, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Washington State University, and multiple pharmacies to move through the phased allocation framework in a synchronized fashion based on the vaccine allocation provided to Whitman County.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare released its weekly summary COVID-19 infections and deaths at long-term care centers. Life Care Center of Lewiston was the only one in the region that reported one death since a week ago for a total of 22 deaths overall. Most care centers in the region showed minimal gains in infections from last week. The biggest increase was at the State Veterans’ Home in Lewiston, which added seven more cases for a total of 18.

No new deaths from the coronavirus in the area were announced Friday.

Public Health – Idaho North Central District reported 51 new cases Friday. Those include six in Clearwater County, three in Idaho County, 27 in Latah County, one in Lewis County and 14 in Nez Perce County.

Asotin County reported seven new cases Friday with one current hospitalization. Whitman County received 18 new positive test results Friday. Six are currently hospitalized and all other cases are stable and self-isolating.

Garfield County did not have any new cases Friday.

Hedberg may be contacted at or (208) 983-2326.

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