The Panhandle Health District announced that it plans to open up COVID-19 vaccine appointments to almost everyone.

The health district recently decided that residents within the district who are ages 16 and older are now eligible to schedule appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine.

This comes only a few days after Gov. Little announced that Idahoans ages 16 and older will be elegible for the vaccine as of April 5.

PHD’s Public Information Officer, Katherine Hoyer, said that the scheduling for the vaccine will remain the same. She said that there are various ways to register including visiting panhandlehealthdistrict.org/covid-19/vaccine/. Those without internet access can also call the PHD’s COVID-19 hotline at 877-415-5225.

Ms. Hoyer said that there is a possibility of more clinics during the week as well as the number of available vaccine doses increases within the health district.

“That is always a possibility and something we can consider once we know what the demand will be,” Ms. Hoyer said.

She also said that the location of the vaccine clinic will be different than in the past. Instead of hosting the clinics at the Heyburn Gym the location will be located at the St. Maries High School gym.

Ms. Hoyer said that the clinics are still by appointment only and that they will not service those who show up to the clinics without an appointment. She said that if the location of the clinic changes then PHD will notify the patient who scheduled an appointment as well.

“Vaccines are by appointment only, so please don’t show up without an appointment,” Ms. Hoyer said. “If the location of the clinic changes, we will note that when you register for an appointment.”

Benewah Community Hospital CEO, Chuck Lloyd, said that the hospital has seen an increase in the number of doses that they receive weekly. He said that with the governor’s announcement, they plan to be able to inoculate their pre-screened patients faster.

“Since the beginning we had the pre-screenings open to pretty much anyone and have been putting them on our list,” Mr. Lloyd said. “This will definately speed up how fast we go through people on the list now.”

He said that the clinic has vaccinated more than 1,300 people in the community. Mr. Lloyd said that the hospital will continue to focus on getting the most vulnerable community members vaccinated first.

“We are going to get through our list,” Mr. Lloyd said. “We want to make sure to get as many of the high risk people gets this vaccine.”

Mr. Lloyd also said that BCH will now be the primary clinic for the staff and tenants at Valley Vista Care Center, who were previously provided vaccine clinics by Walgreens.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine or to schedule a free pre-screening call BCH at 208-245-5551.

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