JOHNSTON — All Iowans should be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning in early April, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced today, March 17.
Reynolds said so long as the Federal Government fulfills the projected allotment of vaccine doses to Iowa in the meantime, the State will open eligibility for the vaccine to all Iowans.
Roughly 2.1 million Iowans are in the 18 years old and older age group for which the vaccine is intended.
Reynolds said she will provide another update on this announcement next week after another conference call with federal officials.
More than 413,000 Iowans have completed their vaccination, and another more than 317,000 have received the first dose in the two-dose treatments, according to State public health data.
As supply of the vaccine has been limited since the rollout started in December 2020, the State prioritized different population groups to become eligible to receive the vaccine.
Distribution started with health care workers and long-term care residents and staff, then expanded to include older Iowans, first responders, teachers and education staff, food processing and manufacturing workers, and correctional facility staff and incarcerated individuals.
Eligibility earlier this month was expanded to include any Iowans with a serious health condition.
Reynolds and Kelly Garcia, the State public health director, said the State and its local public health partners will be prepared for the influx of Iowans hoping to make a vaccine appointment.
All Iowans will be eligible starting Monday, April 5, according to the Governor’s announcement.
In a phone interview with Brad Brake, the Harrison County Public Health Department director, the afternoon of March 17, he said that a clinic will be held Saturday, March 20 and roughly 700 vaccines will be distributed to the 65 years old and older group.
By then, he commented, Public Health will have the majority of this group completed for Harrison County.
As for if and when the allotments increase, Brake said that the Public Health Department will likely continue holding clinics, but they will just be larger in size.
Instead of distributing 100-200 doses, it will be more like 200-400, for example, he said.
Also, the increase will likely mean that some doses can be distributed out by the Public Health Office to places like pharmacies, for instance, so individuals have more location options for signing up to receive the vaccine.
Public Health will continue to pay attention to and follow the phases as of right now, according to Brake. Currently, they are still working through Phase 1B.
Then it will be onto Phase 1C, which are those individuals under 65 years of age with underlying conditions.
From there, the vaccine will become open to the general public.
“My prediction is that after we get through Phase 1C, people will likely be able to find and receive a vaccine somewhere in the County,” said Brake.
There are two ways people can get their name onto a list. One of them is through the Harrison County Home & Public Health (HCH&PH) Facebook page.
A pinned post at the top of this page will direct you to click on a link where you will fill in and submit your information. (You will have to sign into your e-mail account to register this way.)
The other way people can sign up is to call this dedicated number: 712-216-0831. Leave a voicemail or a text message with your information and you will be put on the list.
Brake wants to remind people this phone line is secure and all your information will be safe and kept confidential.
For those who are 65 years and below and have an underlying condition, they could get their first vaccine by early to mid-April, according to Brake.
The timeline for the general population though is more up in the air, he continued, just because it will depend on the allotment and how it plays out coming down from the Federal Government.
Though it has been a basically around the clock process, Brake said the distribution, in general, has been going pretty smoothly.
And Public Health hopes to keep this going.
”Even as allotments pick up, we’ll keep doing the job until it is done,” Brake commented.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call the Public Health Office. You can reach them at 712-644-2220.