Blaine County is leading the South Central Public Health District in vaccine administration, health officials told the public in a virtual town hall Thursday to discuss local COVID-19 updates.

As of last Thursday, there had been 6,035 doses of the coronavirus vaccine administered in Blaine County, according to Public Health District Director Melody Bowyer—amounting to 22% of all vaccines administered in the eight-county district. Blaine County accounts for 11% of the district’s population.

Meanwhile, the South Central Public Health District is leading the state in vaccination administration, Bowyer said, with about 16,820 doses given across the district as of last Thursday. That’s about 74% of the district’s total allocation of the vaccine so far, according to Bowyer; statewide, Idaho had distributed 66% of its total allocation as of Thursday.

“At this point we have far more capacity than supplies administered by the state,” Bowyer said—meaning that if and when the district’s vaccine allocation increases, the district will be prepared. The district also expects to see a 20% increase in doses in the coming weeks, Bowyer said.

She said the South Central Public Health District is currently receiving between 2,500 and 3,500 doses per week.

“At this point we continue to have a limited supply situation … but the demand far exceeds the supply we’re getting,” she said.

There are seven enrolled vaccine providers in Blaine County, including two doctor’s offices, one urgent care clinic, two pharmacies and St. Luke’s Wood River hospital. Albertsons in Hailey will also begin administering vaccines as part of a federal retail pharmacy program, Bowyer said, giving Blaine County an additional 100 doses per week on top of the district’s regular allocation.

Despite the progress made in vaccine administration, Blaine County residents should continue to wear masks and practice social distancing, local medical officials said.

Dr. Terry O’Connor, a physician at St. Luke’s Wood River and medical director of the Blaine County Ambulance District, compared the pandemic to running a marathon.

“It’s as if we’re at mile marker 20, but we’re not at the end yet,” O’Connor said. “We can be thankful we’ve made some progress. But to finish this, I think there is a pretty clear recipe.”

Email the writer: gkauffman@mtexpress.com

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