vaccinations

Credit: Bastian Weltjen / Adobe Stock

Albany County is opening COVID-19 vaccines to the second priority group this week. That includes search and rescue staff as well those who are over 80. It is the last county to open to this group and the only one not opening up to 70 and over yet.

Department of Defense photo by Lisa Ferdinando

For almost a year, Susie Scott hasn't been able to volunteer or see her children without a mask for longer than five minutes.

"That human touch is, I don't care who you are, everybody needs that," said Scott.

Pixabay, Public Domain

The pandemic has made the position of county public health officer more than just a part-time job: it has become political. So far, two officers in Wyoming have been removed from their positions and one has resigned. Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska spoke with Washakie County's public officer, who did the work for ten years until he was removed by the commission this past fall. Dr. Ed Zimmerman said before the pandemic, the position was relatively easy.

Updated 5:06 p.m. ET

On Friday afternoon, President-Elect Joe Biden shared a detailed plan to tackle the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, promising to fight the pandemic with "the full strength of the federal government."

In a speech in Delaware, Biden laid out his five-part plan for how to speed up the vaccination campaign: Open up vaccine eligibility to more people; create more vaccination sites; increase vaccine supply; hire a vaccination workforce; and launch a large-scale public education campaign.

Updated at 8:37 p.m.

President-elect Joe Biden outlined his plans for economic relief from the coronavirus crisis on Thursday, citing the need for a more robust vaccination plan as well as for additional direct payments to American families to help recover the U.S. economy. His plan, called the American Rescue Plan, is expected to cost $1.9 trillion.

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During Teton County's weekly COVID-19 update, St. John's Health CEO Paul Beupre said the vaccine progress is going pretty smoothly in the county. Yet, he said the state is not receiving as many vaccine doses as it should be, according to the amount of vaccine the federal government has purchased.

Natrona County Health

Starting this Wednesday, January 13, residents of Natrona County 70 or older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The opening in eligibility marks the Casper-Natrona County Health Department's (CNCHD) move to the next phase of its vaccination rollout.

Credit: Bastian Weltjen / Adobe Stock

About a third of Americans living in rural areas say they probably or definitely would not get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

When the COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will partner with retail pharmacies such as Costco and Walgreen to help distribute them. But a new analysis of rural counties finds that as many as 750 counties don't have one of those pharmacies.

U.S. Secretary of Defense

It has been about three weeks since Wyoming received its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Since then, the state has been busy trying to get the vaccine out to the first priority groups.

Once the first vaccine shipments came to Wyoming, the state's department of health and local experts took federal guidance and amended it for the state.

Melodie Edwards

Right when the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was approved, the federal government started shipping boxes to states, and the Moderna vaccine was only a week behind. Since then Wyoming has received over 25,000 doses, but only 35 percent of those have been administered as of January 7.

Official VA Photo by Cynthia Neukam

The Sheridan VA has begun to vaccinate employees and high-risk veterans with a COVID-19 vaccine.

The health system in Sheridan received its first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on December 22. As of Wednesday, January 6,171 employees and 49 veterans have been vaccinated with the first of two doses.

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This week, Wyoming Public Radio's Maggie Mullen hosted a Facebook Live event with Dr. Rupali Limaye of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine. In case you missed it, we've put together some highlights for you to hear, starting with what it means that a recent survey found that most — but not all — Wyomingites say they would be willing to get vaccinated against the virus.

Cooper McKim

The holiday season is upon us and with it comes the Festival of Lights, better known as Hanukkah. Folks around the country are lighting their menorahs, including here in Wyoming. Cooper McKim spoke with Seth Ward, University of Wyoming professor of religious studies, about the holiday's special meaning this year.

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The public health departments in Casper and Cheyenne received their first COVID-19 vaccine doses on Monday, December 14, and hospitals in Cody, Jackson, and Gillette are expected to get their vaccine packages on Tuesday.

States across the Mountain West are receiving their first shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. And the Moderna vaccine will be coming once it's granted emergency authorization by the FDA. But as distribution gets underway, other COVID-19 prevention measures including frequent hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing will still be necessary. 

U.S. Centers For Disease Control

A new report from the University of Wyoming's survey center shows a majority of Wyomingites are willing to take a vaccine once it becomes available. But there is still a large faction who thinks a vaccine is unnecessary.

UTAH PUBLIC RADIO

There is a lot of confidence from Wyoming's health officer over the possibility of a vaccine being made available to state residents. But it might take a while before most of us get access to a vaccine, that's because a couple of them are still in the trial phase. Companies are testing vaccines using people from across the country.

One person who's part of the process is Madelyn Beck, she's a former reporter for Wyoming Public Radio who's been closing following COVID-19 as part of her current job as a reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She spoke with Bob Beck about what the testing process is like and what interested her in becoming a guinea pig for the secret serum.

University of Wyoming, University of Colorado Boulder


As the FDA considers the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine this week, figures around the U.S., including here in Wyoming, are calling into question the vaccine and the approval process it's going through.

Wyoming Department of Health - State of Wyoming


After a summer with relatively few serious cases of COVID-19, Wyoming's hospitals are full and the death toll is rising. Even the governor and first lady have contracted the coronavirus and it shows no signs of letting up. State Health Officer Doctor Alexia Harrist joined Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck to discuss the virus, face coverings and the vaccine.

On Dec. 10, the first COVID-19 vaccine will be evaluated by a Food and Drug Administration advisory group, made of external vaccine experts. They'll say - in a public meeting - whether they think the FDA should give emergency use authorization for the vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and why.


The vaccine developed by the pharmaceutical company Moderna may be easier to distribute in the rural West, according to regional public health experts.

It can survive up to a month in a freezer, is shipped in small doses, and it doesn't need a special, ultra-cold freezer to survive – unlike the vaccine developed by the company Pfizer.


The news of a promising COVID-19 vaccine from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and the German company BioNTech is generating optimism this week.

But in the Mountain West, there will be significant challenges in storing and distributing this type of vaccine in rural areas.

A newly published study out of the University of Idaho suggests that the higher perceived risk of a disease, the more likely someone is to vaccinate.

The poll came from the Colorado Health Foundation but national polls over the past few months paint a similar picture.

This post was updated May 28, 2019 at 9:15 p.m. to include the leastest outbreak numbers and an additional infographic.

Measles have reached the highest numbers in 25 years, with more than 900 cases reported so far to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Mountain West is especially vulnerable. According to CDC data, too few kindergartners in our region are fully vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella. One Colorado family took that to heart — and then things got personal.

This story was updated May 3, 2019 at 3:40 p.m.

Measles cases have reached a 19-year high in the U.S., but a bill in Colorado aimed at improving childhood vaccination rates didn’t succeed. It didn’t really fail, either. It just got mired in super-long hearings, pushback from the governor and, ultimately, a legislative schedule that ran out of time before the bill could reach the Senate.

“I’m still today trying to figure out exactly what happened,” says Rep. Kyle Mullica, who sponsored the bill.

Updated at 1:55 p.m., Feb. 26, 2019:

As a measles outbreak continues in Washington state, a congressional hearing Wednesday will discuss the preventable disease, now considered to be a “growing public health threat.”

Several states are considering legislation to encourage higher rates of childhood vaccines. The response in our region is mixed.

There's currently another measles outbreak, this time in the Pacific Northwest. In the Mountain West, states are below the national average for measles vaccination, which could also put us at risk.


Measles is making a comeback in the U.S. as more parents choose not to vaccinate their children. The childhood disease is a major killer in much of the developing world, but now the public health community is trying to re-educate families about the importance of childhood vaccinations. That includes a new program in Utah.

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