GCPH reports 1B vaccine supply limited

On Thursday, January 21st, 2021, Governor Kim Reynolds announced changes to the priority population for receiving a Phase 1B COVID-19 vaccination. These changes included extending the eligibility age to 65 years and older and placed the priority populations who are vulnerable to high risk of exposure or severity of illness in order of priority. These populations are organized into tiers and those 65 years and older are eligible throughout the entire portion of Phase 1B and going forward.

However, the Iowa Department of Public Health has stated that the supply of vaccine will be very limited.

“While Phase 1B is expected to begin on Monday, February 1st, 2021, please understand when local public health departments are allocated doses in the hundreds, completing vaccination of everyone in Phase 1A and those included in Phase 1B will take weeks to months,” said Katie Thornton-Lang, Program Coordinator for Grundy County Public Health (GCPH).

As of February 1st, 2021, persons 65 and older can start to receive vaccine from GCPH’s pharmacy partners: Manly Drugstore/Stefl Drug in Grundy Center, Nucara in Conrad, and Reinbeck Pharmacy. Those residents 65 and older, or their loved ones, should not contact Grundy County Memorial Hospital (GCMH), local clinics, or other health care providers to ask for the vaccine. A high volume of calls makes it more difficult to address patients and others with immediate needs. At this time, there is no public sign-up for individuals. Persons 65 and older can contact local pharmacies to be placed on their waiting lists. Upon receival of vaccines given by the state of Iowa, the administering pharmacy at which individuals have placed their names on waiting lists will call to schedule appointments. There are no walk-ins available.

Those working in occupations identified in Tier 1 for Phase 1B (PreK-12 staff members, child care workers, firefighters, police officers and child welfare social workers) will be directed to the COVID-19 vaccine provider pharmacies mentioned, or contacted directly to schedule clinics. GCPH is currently assisting pharmacies and leadership in prioritizing staff at these organizations. If you work in these occupations, closely monitor communication from your employer and GCPH. Those in Tier 1 Phase 1B should not call pharmacies unless instructed to do so by GCPH or their employer.

GCPH continues to coordinate with local pharmacies and other COVID-19 vaccine provider partners that will be providing vaccine to the priority populations as recommended by the state’s Infectious Disease Advisory Council (IDAC) and by order of the state’s vaccine shortage order. This process is due to the limited vaccine supply available, the large amount of population that is eligible, and the goal to ensure that doses are utilized for those who are eligible and not wasted. As supply increases, more opportunities for vaccination will occur.

Everyone should continue taking protective measures, regardless of being vaccinated, to limit the spread of COVID-19:

Wear a mask or face covering

Practice social distancing with those outside your household

Clean your hands frequently with soap and water

Stay home if you feel sick

Recognize that older people and those with chronic health conditions like diabetes, obesity, heart issues, and organ transplants have a much higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19

For up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/. You can also follow the Iowa Department of Public Health (https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus) on Facebook (@IowaDepartmentOfPublicHealth) and on Twitter (@IAPublicHealth). Visit Grundy County Public Health on Facebook (@GrundyCoPublicHealth) and on Twitter (@GrundyCountyPH).