Hillcrest vaccinations

Lydia Polson receives her second dose of COVID-19 vaccine during a mass vaccination event at Hillcrest High School in Idaho Falls on Feb. 5.

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In most regions of Idaho, all residents age 16 and up can start scheduling COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

Eastern Idaho Public Health announced Wednesday night that residents age 16 and up were eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Six of Idaho’s seven health districts have made all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccines already, including near Boise, Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, Coeur d’Alene, Pocatello and Moscow.

Widespread eligibility for adults is happening faster in most places in Idaho than the April 5 deadline state leaders set.

How to schedule your shot

— At Eastern Idaho Public Health, call 208-533-3223 or visit eiph.idaho.gov.

— At Southeastern Idaho Public Health, call 208-234-5875 or visit siphidaho.org.

— Pre-register with the state of Idaho’s tool at https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/covid-19-vaccination. The tool can connect you with other vaccine providers near you.

— Call or visit websites for local pharmacies and other providers. Many of them have no-waste lists, which could help you receive a COVID-19 vaccine before an appointment time. The lists are meant to use up shots leftover at the end of the day before they expire.

Many health districts maintain a public list of vaccine providers in their area.

Health officials recommend that you don’t double book appointments to avoid potential vaccine waste, which state officials say is low.

Only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for use in people aged 16- and 17-years old. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which use new mRNA technology that doesn’t carry a whole virus, require two doses for maximum protection. The vaccine by Johnson & Johnson requires only one dose. Future booster shots may be recommended as experts and officials learn more about the length of immunity vaccines offer.

Two weeks after receiving the final shot in a COVID-19 vaccine series, you are considered to be fully vaccinated. That doesn’t mean you’re entirely immune.

But the vaccines are believed to prevent the vast majority of severe COVID-19 infections and deaths from COVID-19. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released Monday said the two-dose vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna were 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections in the real world. The one-shot J&J vaccine was approved only a few weeks ago. AP reported that five people in the study received that shot, which analyzed effectiveness among health care workers and others who received the shot in early distribution phases.

No COVID-19 vaccines are approved for children younger than 16. Pfizer announced on Wednesday that preliminary tests showed its COVID-19 vaccine is both safe and protective in children as young as 12, according to the Associated Press.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct information about a CDC study that analyzed COVID-19 vaccine efficacy in real-world settings.

Reporter Kyle Pfannenstiel can be reached at 208-542-6754. Follow him on Twitter: @pfannyyy. He is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

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