A Zoom meeting was held by Iowa Public Health Friday about the allocation of COVID-19 vaccines in Iowa. Medical personnel and the elderly have been the first to have the vaccine available to them. Second doses are getting ready to be released to those people. Now new sectors of the population can begin to have the vaccine available to them as well.
Decisions for who the priority groups are will be based on vaccine supply, the impact COVID-19 has had on the community and its severity, and the potential for a negative impact on critical infrastructure in the community.
The different groups will become eligible for vaccination in phases. The current phase is 1A, with the elderly and health care workers having access. Phase 1B includes frontline essential workers (non–health care workers) including K-12 teachers and childcare workers and anyone 75 years or older are recommended to receive vaccine in Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccination program.
Phase 1C includes people 65–74 years old, people 16–64 years old with medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19, and essential workers not previously included in Phase 1A or 1B.
Phases 1B and 1C are not finalized in Iowa but based on population the Infectious Disease Advisory Council is likely to finalize Phases 1B and 1C at their weekly meeting this week. Meeting minutes can be viewed at https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus/IDAC. With vaccine supply still low it will most likely take several months to reach Phases 1B and 1C. Vaccine supply will be the determining factor as to how soon vaccinations will be accessible to those in the 1B and 1C groups.
Once a workforce is eligible to receive the vaccine there will be a few different options to go about getting it.
• Large employers offering closed point of distribution vaccine clinics for only their employees.
• Local public health offering point of distribution vaccine clinics for the eligible populations.
• Employer and local public health coordinating with a third party vaccine provider (such as a local pharmacy or health care provider) to offer vaccine to the eligible population.
The agriculture and food industry experienced outbreaks due to congregate settings in the workplace. As of Friday for just the healthcare worker population IDAC receives about 18,000-19,000 doses each week for the entire state. Those numbers should double by the end of January, and those numbers will determine when the state will be able to transition to Phase 1B.
Businesses and even higher education institutions can enroll to be a vaccine enrolled provider at the Iowa Public Health website. Being an enrolled provider means working with local public health to have closed points of distribution or open points of distribution for the eligible population.
IPH and IDAC say the best thing to do now is to be patient and keep an eye on the Clarke County Public Health website for information about when phase transitions will take place.