BLACKFOOT – Maggie Mann, director of Southeastern Idaho Public Health, held her daily update regarding COVID-19 and warned of misunderstandings surrounding the vaccines for the virus.

Both Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines have provided tremendous levels of success against acquiring COVID-19 during trials and were fast-tracked to the public in efforts to cull the ongoing pandemic.

Although the state has started its second rounds of the vaccine on those who were first in line to receive it — healthcare workers and those in assisted living — there are plenty of unknowns left to be discovered as more and more people receive the inoculation.

Primarily, Mann noted that although case numbers are trending down as the vaccine slowly becomes more and more available, there is little to no science on whether a person who comes in contact with the virus after being vaccinated can become a carrier and spread it to others. That is a large concern for public health officials because the numbers of asymptomatic patients will rise substantially and will create a perfect storm for hard-to-trace infectors.

Mann cautions people to continue to use the mitigating standards that have been working — social distancing, wearing a cloth face covering or mask, and staying home when sick. Other than that, she did note that Gov. Brad Little held a meeting on Friday regarding some changes to the tiers of priority for the vaccine and explained that they will be holding a meeting as well as updating the information on their website to better reflect the new rankings.

ROAD AHEAD

The Southeastern Idaho Public Health Board of Health will meet Thursday at 9 a.m. to review the current state of COVID activity in the district. Depending on current trends and levels of cases, decisions will be made whether to modify the current risk levels. If they feel the changes have not been substantial enough, they may make motions to keep their respective counties at their current risk level, lower the risk level, or raise the risk level as the board sees fit.