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Idaho pharmacies prepare for ages 16+ to become eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

"We have a lot of people that want to get vaccinated," said a pharmacy manager at Albertsons.

BOISE, Idaho — On Monday, April 5, all Idahoans over the age of 16 can schedule an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Currently, anyone over the age of 45 is eligible.

Many Idaho pharmacies are preparing for an expected surge in new appointments, and some are waiting patiently for the big day.

“I’m excited for it, I’m excited to get our patients vaccinated," said Michael McDevitt, pharmacy district manager at Albertsons. "We have had a lot of people waiting in line, they’re like it’s not my turn, it’s 55 and up or 45 and up, and we have a lot of people that want to get vaccinated."

Even if there is higher demand once April 5 rolls around, McDevitt said Albertsons pharmacies will still never schedule an appointment if they don’t have enough vaccine for it. Fortunately, more supply appears to be on the way.

“We are expecting to see more vaccine hit the market so we can scale up as we need, but right now we try to make sure that, when we give a person an appointment, that we have a vaccine for it,” McDevitt said.

Albertsons' appointment availabilities are based on vaccine allotments from the federal government and the state. McDevitt agrees with Gov. Little's decision to open up vaccines to all eligible age groups.

“We were having difficulties trying to fill our appointments and every time we have had difficulties filling appointments, I had to send out emails asking people, hey, you know it's your turn to get in, would you like to sign up?”

Smaller pharmacies are also gearing up for the new age group.

“Our pharmacy is unique in the sense that we have a lot of staffing devoted to curb this COVID pandemic,” said Skyler Richards, a pharmacist at Dick’s Pharmacy in Twin Falls. “Giving vaccines, calling for second doses, it takes a lot of manpower.”

Richards says the pharmacy was able to open up a clinic that focuses on administering COVID-19 vaccines. If supply continues to go up, he’s confident that they have the manpower to tackle more vaccinations.

“We will just devote more staff if we need to, to help give more shots," Richards said. "We anticipate we can give 100 to 200 shots a day, at this location if that supply holds up and I anticipate that we should be getting more supply."

RELATED: Biden doubles goal of COVID vaccines to 200 million doses

It's not the supply that Richards is concerned about. It's more about the uncertainty of demand he will see from younger age groups.

“I just worry that some people with social media will be deterred from getting the vaccine because there is misinformation about those vaccines,” he said.

Regardless of how high the demand will be starting April 5, these Idaho pharmacists are ready for it.

“There is a lot of people out there who want the vaccine but haven't been able to get it hopefully we can keep up with the demand,” Richards said.

Added McDevitt: “It’s exciting, I’m excited to get people back out and vaccinated."

To sign up on the state's pre-registration system for a COVID vaccine click or tap here.

   

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