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BREAKING NEWS

When is it my turn?

?Iowa Department of Health releases new projected timeline for COVID-19 vaccinations

By Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer | Mar 1, 2021

Vaccinations have been

available for health care

workers, long-term care residents

and staff, and older

Iowans for several weeks,

with first responders, K-12

school teachers and staff,

and child care staff for a few

weeks.

At a Thursday press conference,

Governor Kim

Reynolds released a timeline

that shows the next

eligible groups beginning

in mid-March are essential

workers in food processing,

agricultural production, distribution

and manufacturing,

and individuals living

in home setting with their

direct care staff.

The remaining priority

groups of Iowans age 16

and up will be added between

April and October as

the supply increases, with

70% of the populations already

prioritized projected

to have received at least one

dose of vaccine by April 30,

2021.

Reynolds emphasized that

the projections could change

as circumstances fluctuate.

She noted that recent severe

weather events across the

country disrupted the delivery

of millions of vaccine

doses.

Friday, the state opened a

new website: www.vaccinate.

iowa, with the tagline

“Sleeves up!” – to help

Iowans find access to the vaccine. It does include a vaccine locator and answers to frequently asked questions. It does not allow Iowans to schedule vaccines online though it will connect them to provider systems where they can schedule those appointments. Currently in Emmet County, vaccines are available to select groups through the Emmet County Public Health center, through the online registration at Estherville’s Hy-Vee Pharmacy, and on the contact form at Estherville Pharmacy.

Reynolds also announced the hiring of additional vaccine navigators to the 2-1-1 call center to assist older Iowans trying to schedule a vaccine appointment. Beginning next Monday, March 8, individuals age 65 and older can call 2-1-1 to get help to schedule an appointment at their local Hy-Vee Pharmacy. Callers will be required to supply their name, phone number and birthdate.

Some of the vaccine navigators will begin reaching out to older Iowans who have contacted the Area Agencies on Aging for vaccine appointment assistance. These navigators as well will ask only for their name, phone number and birthdate. Callers asking for medical insurance numbers, social security numbers and financial information are not vaccine navigators authorized by the state.

The governor said wait times may still be long because demand continues to outstrip supply.

So far, roughly 450,000 Iowans have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. The vaccines available in Iowa each require two doses, taken weeks apart, to reach full efficacy. Up to 660,000 Iowans are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine under Reynolds’ current eligibility criteria but those numbers will expand soon if the projections remain correct.

Governor Reynolds said the White House told governors during its weekly coronavirus briefing that the federal vaccine allocation to states will increase by another one million doses. The White House will next week have the ability to forecast state allocations several months in advance, which will help states plan their distributions, helping to answer the question, “When is it my turn?”

The FDA is expected any day to improve a third vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, which will require only one dose, boosting vaccine supply across the nation.

Reynolds said an initial two million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available nationally with 25,800 doses coming to Iowa once approved.

According to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health, Emmet County currently has administered 1,770 vaccines: 926 individuals have had their first dose, and 429 have had their first and second doses. 631,645 doses have been administered to Iowa residents.