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COVID Vaccine Information


COVID Vaccine News and Information (updated 11/23/21)

Today, all people 12+ can receive a vaccine regardless of whether or not they live and/or work in Idaho. Parents can schedule appointments for teens and preteens or just walk-in with their child at one of St. Luke’s dedicated Pfizer vaccine clinic sites. Parental consent is required. A parent or legal guardian should accompany minors to provide consent at the time of the appointment; written or verbal consent by phone may be accepted if a parent or legal guardian is not present.  

We continue to follow the state’s recommendations. St. Luke’s is one of many providers giving COVID-19 vaccinations in Idaho. You can find a list of vaccine providers for your area on the Idaho COVID-19 Vaccination Information site.

St. Luke's is Now Scheduling Appointments for COVID-19 Boosters

St. Luke’s is now scheduling appointments for COVID-19 boosters after the primary series for eligible groups who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for their initial series six or more months ago or who received Johnson & Johnson two or more months ago. Appointments should be scheduled through MyChart or by calling (208) 381-9500.  

Since we continue to have high demand for care and staffing challenges, those who visit our clinics without an appointment for the purpose of obtaining a COVID-19 booster may experience long wait times or may need to come back another day.  

You can also receive your flu vaccine in the same visit by scheduling them together through MyChart. For the best patient experience, if you already have a flu shot scheduled, please go online to cancel the flu shot appointment and reschedule a combined visit.

Pfizer Vaccine Now Available for Ages 5-11

Parents or guardians can now make COVID-19 vaccine appointments at several of our sites for their children ages 5-11. You will find which sites are offering this vaccine to children in MyChart when you schedule. Please note, we are not able to accept walk-ins for this group (5-11) at this time.

To prepare, parents/guardians should create a MyChart account for eligible children and set up proxy access if they have not already done so. If you don’t find a vaccine administration site near you, please know that we are opening new sites as quickly as we can. 

If you are unable to access MyChart, please call 208-381-9500 to make an appointment.

Updated Vaccine Recommendation for Immunocompromised Patients

Moderately to severely immunocompromised patients are now able to schedule appointments for third doses of mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) through our myChart app. Find the CDC list of conditions included for the purposes of this recommendation here:  

For the best experience, we highly encourage patients to schedule through the myChart app. To access myChart or set up a new myChart account, visit St. Luke’s or call 208-381-9000. If you would like to schedule a vaccine and are unable to access myChart, please call 208-381-9500.   

Due to current patient volumes, there may be wait times at our clinics if you don’t have a scheduled appointment. See below for a list of clinics.  While we encourage people to schedule ahead, we will continue to meet the need for walk-ins. 

At this time, an additional COVID-19 vaccine dose has not been recommended by the CDC for those who have received non-mRNA vaccines (e.g., Johnson & Johnson). Though it is recommended that the third dose be the same brand as the initial series, it is not necessary if that brand is not available. For example, someone who received a Pfizer primer and booster may receive Moderna for their third dose. 

St. Luke's COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Locations

For the most prompt service, we recommend pre-scheduling your vaccine through myChart or by calling St. Luke's Connect at 208-381-9500. Walk-ins are accepted at most vaccine clinic locations during normal operating hours.  



Johnson & Johnson

COVID-19 Vaccine Recommended for Pregnant Women

Protect Yourself and Your Baby

Pregnant women with COVID-19 can have severe illness and severe outcomes, including ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, and death.

That's why St. Luke’s OB/GYN providers recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to get pregnant. More than 139,000 pregnant women have enrolled in the V-Safe Pregnancy Registry. Data shows there is no risk of miscarriage associated with the vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccines do not cause infection; they do prevent severe illness from COVID-19, which is dangerous for a pregnant woman and her fetus. Maternal infection with the virus is associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery and stillbirth. Vaccinated mothers who are breastfeeding transmit antibodies that may help protect their newborns.

FAQs: Vaccine Basics

Click each question below for its answer:

How effective are the COVID-19 vaccines?

Pfizer has reported that its vaccine is 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection, once seven days have passed since the second vaccine dose (booster shot). The Moderna vaccine is reporting a 94.5% effectiveness rate.

The COVID vaccine will help your body generate antibodies to help protect you from the virus without getting sick. Vaccines can produce longer-lasting protection than if you had the disease. Research shows antibodies in recovering adults last up to four months. The CDC says more data is needed to know how long immunity produced by the vaccination will last.

How effective and safe is Pfizer for children ages 12 through 15?

In a Pfizer trial study, the vaccine prevented the disease in 100 percent of the 1,131 adolescents who received it. Pfizer said the vaccine was well tolerated and side effects were consistent with those reported by people 16-25 years old. Our pediatricians and physicians say it is better to get the vaccine than to risk getting the disease, the symptoms and the possible long-term effects.

What is in the COVID-19 vaccines?

Please review the fact sheets for each vaccine, as developed by the manufacturers: 

Since the COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out fast, how do we know it is safe?

These are not new technologies. The vaccines are actually set up to give us immunity that is better than natural infection. We know the side effects of the natural infection. When we compare the risks to those at the frontlines that are being exposed to the virus and those in our community who are at high-risk for severe disease and death, those risks greatly overshadow the unknown risks of the vaccine.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine a live virus?

No, it is made from a portion of the virus’ molecular material (RNA). For more information on the science behind the vaccine, please visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site, Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines. Also check out, Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines.

Does the vaccine prevent you from getting COVID-19 or just reduce symptoms?
Both. More than 90% of the people in the phase 3 trials did not get COVID-19. Of those who did get it, only one person in the Pfizer study has a severe case, the rest of the participants in Pfizer had minor symptoms.
Can someone who is vaccinated still get COVID-19?

Yes, because the vaccine is 95% effective, not 100% effective. Those exposed to the virus later, after the booster vaccine, tended to have mild symptoms if they became ill at all.

What percentage of the community needs to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity? Can it happen naturally?
According to the CDC, experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19.

The American Lung Association’s blog says, “In most cases, herd immunity is not achieved without an effective vaccine. For COVID-19, the percentage of the population that needs to be infected to achieve herd immunity is estimated to be between 70% and 90%, and this is assuming lasting immunity is possible.”

Herd immunity could happen naturally but would take years. Also, we know acquiring immunity through natural disease is risky to that person and comes with a high cost of hospitalizations, long-term health problems and even more deaths.
How do I decide if getting vaccinated is right for me?
Weigh the risk of contracting or spreading this potentially life-threatening disease to those who are vulnerable against the risks, side effects, safety and effectiveness of the vaccines offered.

Older age and underlying medical conditions including obesity, a compromised immune system, hypertension, COPD, diabetes, and heart disease increase the risk of severe illness from the virus and should be considered as well. You may wish to discuss with your primary care provider.
How can I learn more about how the COVID-19 vaccine has been developed, tested and approved?
Watch this brief video from the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
Where can I get more information about COVID-19 vaccines?

Idaho Resources

National Resources

FAQs: Getting the Vaccine

Click each question below for its answer:

When will COVID-19 vaccine be available?
St. Luke’s has been administering vaccine since Dec. 18, 2020. Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen vaccines are now available in Idaho.
How do I schedule in myChart or set up a myChart account?
If you don’t have a myChart account, you can create one online or by calling 208-381-9000. If you are unable to use technology or need interpretation services, please call 208-381-9500. You may also set up online myChart proxy access for family members or dependents and fill out a questionnaire for them.

If you are an adult 18+, you can schedule by following these steps:

  1. Log into St. Luke’s myChart. (If you don’t have an account, you can create one online or by calling 208-381-9000.)
  2. Click on Schedule COVID Vaccine Appointment.
  3. Answer a few quick questions and then schedule your vaccine appointment.
You can also call 208-381-9500 to schedule an appointment. 
How can people ages 16-17 get the vaccine?
For minors 16-17 years old:

  • Minors cannot consent for a COVID vaccine. They must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to provide consent at the time of the appointment. Written or verbal consent will need to be provided by a parent or legal guardian, if not present at the time of the appointment.  
  • Teens 16-17 years old can only receive the Pfizer vaccine, which is available at St. Luke’s sites in Boise, Hailey, McCall, Meridian, Mountain Home, Nampa and Twin Falls.
  • Minors cannot schedule their own appointments in myChart. Parents or legal guardians with teen proxy access can schedule for the minor. To get teen proxy access, the teen will need to grant teen proxy access to their parent or legal guardian through their own MyChart account.
  • Parents can schedule without proxy access by calling 208-381-9500.
  • Minors can schedule their own vaccine appointment by calling 208-381-9500, however, they must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to provide consent at the time of the appointment, or provide written or verbal consent of a parent or legal guardian, if not present at the time of the appointment. 

How to Schedule

  1. Log into St. Luke’s myChart. (If a minor doesn’t have an account, they will need to get an activation code online or by calling 208-381-9000.)
  2. Click on Schedule COVID Vaccine Appointment.
  3. Answer a few quick questions and then schedule your vaccine appointment.
  4. Or call 208-381-9500.
How can children ages 12-15 get vaccinated?
  • Minors cannot consent for a COVID vaccine. A parent or legal guardian should accompany minors to provide consent at the time of the appointment. Written or verbal consent by phone may be accepted if a parent or legal guardian is not present.  
  • Children 12-15 years old can only receive the Pfizer vaccine, which is available at St. Luke’s sites in Boise, Hailey, McCall, Meridian, Mountain Home, Nampa and Twin Falls.
  • Minors cannot schedule their own appointments in myChart. Parents or legal guardians with teen proxy access can schedule for the minor. To get teen proxy access, the teen will need to grant teen proxy access to their parent or legal guardian through their own MyChart account.
  • Parents and children can walk in or a parent can schedule by calling 208-381-9500. Note: we are not able to accommodate walk-ins in Hailey.
  • Patients should wear loose-fitting clothing to allow access to the upper arm.
  • Parents should be aware that we will not give the vaccine to children who don’t want it.
Can I choose which vaccine I receive?
St. Luke’s assigns specific vaccines to different sites in order to keep you safe and ensure you get the same vaccine if two doses are required. We do not have the ability at this time to let you choose which vaccine you get. You will be notified before you get vaccinated which one you are receiving.
Can I bring someone with me to my vaccine appointment?

Please review our visitor policy.

How many doses will I need?

Pfizer and Moderna both require two doses. Pfizer is given 21 days apart, and Moderna, 28 days apart. You will need to have both shots of the same vaccine, without mixing vaccine types. The first shot (primer) and the second shot (booster) are the same.

Janssen’s (Johnson & Johnson) is one dose.

What are the side effects for the vaccines?
Pfizer and Moderna: The most common side effect is injection site pain. Other side effects of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines include fatigue, headache, muscle pain and chills, and generally last two days before subsiding. These side effects indicate that the vaccine is doing its job, mimicking an infection in the body without causing a COVID-19 infection. Severe adverse reactions such as allergic reactions and Bell’s Palsy are much less common, but if they occur, need to be reported to your health care provider. None of these side effects are contagious.

Johnson & Johnson: Pain at the injection site is most common. Other common reactions included headache, fatigue and myalgia. Most symptoms resolved in one to two days.

It is important to note that reactions after the vaccine and the actual COVID-19 infection are significantly different. Vaccine reactions may involve some mild symptoms occurring in the first couple of days, coupled with the pain at the injection site, redness and swelling (from the vaccine), as noted above. By contrast, the COVID-19 infection reaction has a respiratory component, cough and nasal congestion, loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath, much more fever, and also a longer period of muscle pain, fatigue and headache.

Infrequently, people who have received dermal fillers may develop swelling at or near the filler injection site, usually face or lips, after receiving a dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). It appears to be temporary and can resolve with medical treatment, including corticosteroid therapy. People who have received dermal fillers can be vaccinated without additional precautions but should contact their health care provider if they develop swelling afterward.

Should I get the vaccine if I had a prior COVID positive test result?
The recommendation is to go ahead and get the vaccine. The Pfizer data included individuals that had recently had a positive test and also got the vaccine. There's a lot of theoretical and other evidence that suggests that the immunity from the vaccine may actually be a longer, more protective immunity than the variable immunity you can get after a natural infection. However, we do not want people who are actively sick getting the vaccine. But any recovered individual, whether it was a documented COVID or suspected COVID, should get the vaccine. If there are any questions, discuss them with a health care provider.
Can pregnant or lactating women get the vaccine?
St. Luke’s would follow the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommendation, which recommends that it may be helpful for the pregnant patient to have a conversation with their OB or their family medical doctor. We will give a pregnant or lactating woman the vaccine if she chooses to get it, whether or not she has spoken with her OB or provider.
How much will it cost to be vaccinated?
The vaccine will be administered at no cost to the patient.

Although the vaccine itself is free, the federal government has created a way for health systems to charge and bill for the administration of the drugs.

Health systems will receive reimbursement from insurance plans and the federal government with no cost to patients.

What if I have lost my CDC vaccine card or forget to bring it to my vaccination appointment?
If you have lost or forgotten your CDC vaccine card, you can receive another one at your appointment or by going to a St. Luke's clinic that is currently providing COVID-19 vaccines. You also may access your medical records online through myChart for proof of vaccine.
Can I get a COVID-19 vaccination and other vaccines at the same time?

Yes, the CDC has updated their guidance to state that health workers may administer another needed vaccine at the same time as the COVID vaccine. This applies to patients of any age.

Should I postpone a COVID-19 vaccination if I have an upcoming procedure?
When considering timing of vaccination, keep in mind that the goal is to get the booster as close to three weeks (Pfizer) or four weeks (Moderna) as possible. If you will be unable to get to the facility for the initial vaccine or booster appointment times, you may consider rescheduling your procedure based on your initial vaccine date to ensure you can make it to your booster appointment. Also, since there is a chance of not feeling well for up to three days after your vaccine or booster vaccine, please do not plan on a procedure during those few days.
Does COVID-19 vaccination affect TB testing?
If baseline TB screening is required, it can be done before the person receives the vaccine. The IGRA can be drawn any time prior to the COVID Vaccine or the TST can be placed and read (up to 72 hours after placement) before receiving the COVID Vaccine.

If the person has recently received the COVID-19 vaccine, the current CDC recommendations state the need to defer TST (TB skin test) or IGRA (TB blood test) until four weeks after completion of the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. If the person is in that COVID-19 vaccine window, we recommend a healthcare screening to ensure that an individual does not have any symptoms of active (contagious) tuberculosis disease. This screening is provided by the Occupational Health clinics.

This health care screening does not rule out latent tuberculosis, which is when the disease is only in a dormant state and cannot be spread to others.  However, with this preliminary clearance, testing for latent TB can be deferred until the four-week post-COVID-19 booster waiting period has ended.  Once that person is past their COVID-19 vaccine window, they should proceed with the IGRA or TST, screening for latent TB.

FAQs: After Vaccination

Click each question below for its answer:

What should I expect after getting the COVID vaccine?

The CDC has published information on What to Expect after Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine and posts updates as more information becomes available.

How long will the vaccine be effective?
Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide and how long it lasts. Participants in the phase 3 clinical trials will be studied for the next two years to find these answers.
What should I do if I have a reaction to the vaccine?

When you receive a vaccination in one of our clinics, you will have the option to be monitored for about 15 minutes and medical staff will use safety precautions and respond immediately if you have an initial reaction. If you have a delayed reaction, please contact your primary care provider or call 911.

Do I need to wear mask after I've been vaccinated?

Yes. Experts need to know more about the protection provided by the vaccine, like how long it lasts, before changes are made to public prevention recommendations. To stop the pandemic, everyone should keep wearing masks, washing hands often and social distancing. 

Masks are still required at all St. Luke's facilities, regardless of vaccination status. 

Is it safe to visit at-risk loved ones after I've been vaccinated?

It is most safe to visit those who are also vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccines are not 100% effective and some, such as those who are unable to be vaccinated (e.g., young children) and some immunocompromised people who may not have developed robust antibodies to the vaccine, may be less protected and/or not protected.

Can I donate blood and/or convalescent plasma after I receive the vaccine?

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will affect when or if you are eligible to donate blood. View Red Cross guidelines