By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports
Since vaccines became widely available in Idaho, the Idaho Department of Health has updated vaccine uptake data by county every weekday. That data shows high vaccination rates in some counties, like Blaine, where nearly 90 percent of the eligible population has had at least one dose. Other counties, like Idaho and Owyhee, have hovered near 30 percent for weeks.
But Idahoans know populations can vary widely within the same county. Latah County’s Moscow and Potlatch are wildly different communities, as are Kuna and Boise’s North End in Ada County.
Idaho Reports requested vaccine uptake data by zip code. The data is up to date as of Thursday, Aug. 19.
The percentage is based on 2019 total population numbers, as well as 2021 vaccination data for eligible residents 12 and older. Some zip codes have seen a lot of growth in two years, which can skew the percentages. That’s especially in low population areas, like Custer County’s Clayton, which counted 16 people ages 12 and older in 2019, but lists 86 fully vaccinated residents in 2021.
With more than 1.4 million doses given in Idaho, and individual records for each of those jabs, IDHW simply doesn’t have the bandwidth to clean up the data for each zip code, said Niki Forbing-Orr, public information officer for IDHW.
Though imperfect, the information can provide some insights into who is choosing to get vaccinated, and where some barriers to vaccination continue to exist. Idaho Reports is publishing the data exactly as we received it from IDHW.
Correction: An earlier version of this post labeled the 2019 population data as residents 12 and older, based on information received from IDHW. We’ve since learned that those numbers match up with total population numbers from 2019. Thanks to Audrey Dutton and Andy Diehl for pointing this out.