Starting Feb. 1, Phase 1B in the COVID-19 vaccination plan will begin. The Jasper County Health Department has released details about how the process will move forward including projected vaccine amounts for the county and state.
“Governor Reynolds announced Jan. 21 that Iowans age 65 years and over will also be included in Phase 1B to further expand eligibility of older adults,” Jasper County Health Department Administrator Becky Pryor said. “Vaccine remains in VERY short supply. This means not everyone in Phase 1B will be able to get vaccine right away.”
The county will continue to work with local partners to finalize plans to begin Phase 1B vaccinations no later than Feb. 1. Additional details about how county residents who are eligible for Phase 1B can get vaccinated will be share as soon as it is available, Pryor said.
Those included in Phase 1B are those 65 years old and older, first responders such as firefighters, police officers and child welfare social workers among others and PK-12 school staff, early childhood education and childcare workers.
The department said there will not be enough vaccine for everyone eligible in the county in Phase 1B on Feb. 1. As of Jan. 21, the county had not received or been told it’s vaccine allocation from the state for Phase 1B. Plans are in place for Jasper County for vaccine distribution but are constantly changing with the recommendations given and on the availability of the vaccine.
JCHD is working with the five school districts in the county for closed point of dispensing vaccine clinics. They have numerous community partners for Phase 1B including Newton Clinic, Newton Medicap Pharmacy, Newton Hy-Vee, Sully Medical Clinic and Prairie City Medical Clinic.
As of Jan. 21, Iowa is only getting 19,500 doses of the vaccine per week and the lack of availability of the vaccine is the biggest barrier currently to getting it to the public. Jasper County had at least 3,000 residents to vaccinate when the recommendation was for those 75 years old and older, with the number only increasing with the perimeters moved to 65 years old. Jasper County is not doing a waitlist.
As a part of Phase 1A, Medicap Pharmacy and Newton Clinic are giving second doses to healthcare works and MercyOne Newton is working to vaccinate its employees. Long-term care facilities are getting vaccines from a federal pharmacy program and residents and employees have received the vaccine with some having completed the second dose.
In the state, Iowa will require approximately 300,000-400,000 doses of the vaccine to complete Phase 1A according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. As of mid-January, the state had been allocated approximately 226,000 doses.
While the vaccine is still a scarce resource, the IDPH continues to urge Iowans to practice virus mitigation efforts including wearing a mask or face covering, practice social distancing with those outside of the household, clean hands frequently with soap and water and stay home if feeling sick.
As additional information is available about the vaccine, the JCHD will make it available through the local media, the county website and social media.
Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or firstname.lastname@example.org