State expands COVID vaccinations starting Monday

BY PCC STAFF

DES MOINES – Effective Monday, March 8, Iowa vaccine providers can officially begin vaccinating additional priority populations. Individuals 64 years of age and younger with medical conditions that are or may be an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are now eligible. See Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendations for those conditions here.

This announcement comes as several Iowa counties have reported they are nearing completion for vaccinating previous priority population groups. Some counties and vaccine providers will remain focused on previous priority populations until they are closer to completion.

Lee County Health Department (LCHD) received noticed early evening on March 4, 2021 of the updated vaccine orders.

LCHD continues to work through its 65 and over list to schedule vaccines.  LCHD is also in the process of completing vaccines for Tier 2 individuals.  Currently LCHD is not taking names for this new priority group due to still needing to schedule the 65 and over list.  Please continue to watch the LCHD Facebook page and website for announcements for vaccinating this additional priority group.

LCHD can only administer vaccines by the number of weekly doses received each week which has been averaging 300-500 doses per week. LCHD continues to encourage anyone who has an opportunity to get vaccinated by other vaccine providers in the area to take that opportunity. However, if you are currently on the 65 and older list, but get vaccinated elsewhere, you should contact LCHD to be removed from that list to allow people to move up.

As vaccine supplies begin to increase, additional vaccinators will also be providing vaccines in the area.

Because vaccine production has not fully met the demand for vaccine, Iowans will need to remain patient as vaccine production increases. The White House announced this week that by the end of May, there will be enough vaccine for anyone over the age of 16 who chooses to receive one.

Starting March 9, the 211 Call Center will be able to assist Iowans age 65 and older who need assistance scheduling an appointment and don’t have access to the technology to do so. 

It’s critical to continue practicing the mitigation measures that can slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Vaccinated Iowans should continue these precautions as we are still learning whether getting a vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people, even if you don’t get sick yourself.

  • 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
  • Get tested if you are exposed to, or have symptoms of COVID-19
  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine when you are eligible

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