April 22, 2024

Newton Hy-Vee’s pharmacy distributes 200 doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Appointments for people ages 65 and older filled up within hours of announcing availability

Pharmacists say it only took a few hours for Newton Hy-Vee to fully schedule appointments for people ages 65 and older to receive one of the 200 doses of COVID-19 vaccine recently obtained from a federal partnership.

Carol Kingery, 76, and Clifford Kingery, 87, received their first doses of the Moderna vaccine together on Thursday, Feb. 11, one day after the store announced it would be taking appointments.

By chance the Newton couple decided they would ask the pharmacy at Hy-Vee about vaccinations during a grocery shopping trip. Clifford Kingery said he and his wife “lucked out” and were able to set up an appointment the next day.

“We were here just at the right time,” he said.

Carol Kingery added, “I think we needed to do it because we are old, and I think it’s harder on older people.”

Newton Hy-Vee Pharmacy was one of several providers across Iowa to receive a limited supply of vaccine for distribution. Iowans who wanted to be vaccinated — and were also eligible for Phase 1B — could make an appointment online.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) named Hy-Vee as a national partner in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, which was created to help increase access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Demand for COVID-19 vaccine is high

One of the biggest challenges public health officials are facing is the lack of vaccine.

All 99 counties in Iowa are measured by how fast they can get vaccine into the arms of people. Jasper County Health Department Administrator Becky Pryor said there is such a demand for vaccine that appointments are gone within minutes of posting the availability.

“But we know the more we vaccinate people the easier it will get to receive an appointment,” Pryor told Newton News.

Pryor said the county health department — comprised of herself, nurse Kristina Winfield and office coordinator Melissa Gary — has “awesome medical providers, teams and community partners that have come together” to help the community during the pandemic.

“We could not do it with out the Jasper County Emergency Management team, Newton Clinic, Medicap in Newton, Mercy One Newton, Hy-vee in Newton and all of the lon-term care and assisted living facilities all doing their part,” Pryor said.

Jasper County Health Department is also collaborating alongside five school districts — Baxter, Colfax-Mingo, Lynnville-Sully, Newton and PCM — and numerous businesses in the area to organize and make the most efficient use of the vaccine that staff receive.

Pryor said, “Jasper County Health Department is extremely excited to get more doses to those in Jasper County.”

How to get your vaccine in Jasper County

Pryor says individuals who would like a vaccine should follow these websites for regular updates:

www.jasperia.org/588/2019-Novel-Coronavirus-COVID-19

www.facebook.com/JasperCountyHealthDepartmentIowa

Newton Clinic, Medicap Pharmacy in Newton and the Newton Hy-Vee are the Jasper County providers allowing public clinics as more vaccine becomes available. Call Newton Clinic at 641-792-2112 and Medicap Pharmacy at 641-792-3528.

Newton Clinic provides automated vaccine updates when people text message “covidimm” to 641-792-2112. Medicap Pharmacy in Newton has online consent forms for people over 65 at hipaa.jotform.com/210195458190153.

Hy-Vee in Newton also has online consent forms available at www.http://hy-vee.com/my-pharmacy/covid-vaccine-consent.

If you have questions or need help filling out the forms with Medicap or Hy-Vee, please call one of the locations, call the Jasper County Health Department office at 641-787-9224 or email Melissa Gary at mgary@jasperia.org.

How to do your part and protect the community

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proclamation to suspend some mitigation efforts while the pandemic is still occurring puts the community at risk, the Jasper County Board of Health says; it is still too soon to determine when it will be safe for people to stop wearing masks and avoiding close contact with others.

The county board of health encourages people and businesses to continue implementing these mitigation measures:

• Wear masks

• Stay six feet apart

• Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated places

• Wash your hands

• Stay home if you are sick

• Get your COVID immunization when it is your turn

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com