BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – The county continues to trail the state in percentage of people fully vaccinated, according to Lee County health officials.
Lee County Health Department Administrator Michele Ross told supervisors during Monday’s regular meeting of Lee County Supervisors, that county had 10 new reported cases since Monday and has 45 active cases in the county. She also said 27.7% of Lee County residents have been fully vaccinated with either the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the two-dose series from Pfizer or Moderna.
The state average is 33.4%
“Well that doesn’t sound very good.” said Supervisor Rich Harlow.
Ross said there is still a lot of work to do in the county.
“That’s why we’re moving to smaller pop-up or pockets of people who are having trouble accessing a clinic either due to transportation or being able to attend,” Ross said.
“We’re trying to make access as easy as possible, so that’s one of the reasons for the smaller clinics.”
Harlow asked Ross if those numbers were frustrating for her and the staff at LCHD.
“We’d like that to be higher or exceed the state average and we have tried to promote vaccinations,” Ross said. “There’s lots of hesitancy now, fear, or people choosing they don’t want it. But anyone who wants to call and talk to us about concerns, we’d be happy to talk with them.”
Ross also said at LCHD’s last second-dose clinic about 15 people didn’t return for their second vaccine. She said staff called to verify the appointments with those on the list and some said they didn’t want the second shot and others had received it somewhere else.
‘We want people to finish their series. You need to get that second shot for the vaccine to combat that virus the way it was intended,” she said.
Ross said county health officials will be reaching out to libraries, food pantries and salvation army locations for assistance in holding smaller clinic locations and finding some of the people who haven’t had access to a vaccination.
A small Johnson & Johnson clinic has been set for the Fort Madison Food Pantry on May 12 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. They are also looking into the Keokuk area to get something planned and other rural areas of the county.
LCHD is also holding in-house vaccination clinics by appointment. Individuals looking to get vaccinated can call the health department and make an appointment.