BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A drive-up vaccine clinic held Saturday in Lee County administered just under 100 vaccines, when health officials had supplies to vaccinate 900.
Lee County Health Department Administrator Michele Ross, told the Lee County Board of Supervisors during their regular meeting Monday, that the county had more than 1,000 doses on hand last week in preparation for the clinic, which was originally geared up to be a Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinic.
But the federal order to halt using the vaccines until more information could be obtained on a potential blood clotting issue that happened in just six cases out of more than 7,000,000, forced the county to supplement the clinic with the 2-shot Moderna vaccine.
Those vaccinated on Saturday at the former Iowa State Penitentiary south parking lot were given an appointment for a second dose in 28 days.
Ross said the county rate is 2.3% for the past seven days and the 14-day rate is 2.8%. Lee County has vaccinated about 25.3% of residents, while the state average is around 30%.
“We still have a lot of work to do. I am a little concerned that the supply is now exceeding our demand so to speak,” Ross said.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds pleaded with Iowans during her press conference last week to reconsider not getting vaccinated to help ensure the state can continue to go about business and hopefully put an end to the virus activity.
Ross said the recent trend away from getting vaccinated is a similar trend across the state in the wake of the Johnson & Johnson issue. The Johnson & Johnson issue caused a pause in use of the one-dose vaccine until Friday of last week, when the CDC and FDA again approved usage with updated guidance.
Ross said 50 counties in Iowa declined their weekly allocation last week and an additional 28, including Lee County, only accepted partial allocations.
“Out of 500 available, we could only allocate 200 of those out to other vaccinators in the county. The health department had quite a bit of supply. We received a 1,000 doses last week for this larger clinic,” she said.
Ross said LCHD will now shift focus from large scale clinics to smaller pop-up clinics going where people have had previous access or transportation issues in getting vaccinated.
“So we might be going into the community on a smaller scale, trying to get to those hard to reach populations if they’re interested in getting their vaccine.”
Ross said the focus will also turn back to mitigation and encouraging people to continue following health care measures such as social distancing and face coverings until the county has a larger number of people vaccinated.
“People still need to remember in public settings to be careful, social distance and be mindful that we still have a small amount of virus activity in the county,” Ross said.