January 12, 2021 – Many people in Dickinson County are anxious to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Dickinson County Public Health (DCPH) has been giving the vaccine to people in priority group 1a as dictated by Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) guidelines. Lakes Regional Healthcare (LRH) Director of Population and Public Health Katy Burke said they are quickly vaccinating this group and are communicating to them via email regarding the vaccination clinics. In anticipation of the IDPH opening up vaccinations to group 1b, Burke is taking steps now to communicate COVID-19 vaccine clinic information to this group as quickly as possible once the vaccine is available.
Burke said, “We will send out a news release to the local news media, include that news release on our website, post on our Facebook page, and also email people that fall into group 1b that have also completed a questionnaire beforehand.”
The questionnaire Burke is referring to is located on LRH’s website (click here). It asks 12 questions including your name, age, health conditions, email address, and interest in getting the COVID-19 vaccine. According to Burke, it takes roughly five minutes to complete the questionnaire and the information provided will allow DCPH to categorize people into groups 1b, 1c, or future phases. “Then when the Iowa Department of Public Health says we can start vaccinating group 1b and we have vaccine and vaccination clinics planned, we will email those in group 1b to let them know to call us to schedule an appointment,” said Burke. “We have limited staff availability to call people, so we will rely heavily on email. If you don’t have email, you can still receive the information by visiting LRH’s website.”
Each week LRH posts a COVID-19 dashboard on their Facebook page and website that provides information such as how many people in Dickinson County have been tested, how many have had COVID-19, and how many have been hospitalized. Beginning Friday, January 15, they will also include information about COVID-19 vaccinations in Dickinson County. Specifically, the dashboard will list the group currently being vaccinated as dictated by the IDPH, the number of doses given by DCPH, and the number of vaccinations completed, which means the number of people who have had both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Burke said, “Our goal is to be as transparent as possible about everything related to COVID. We’ve received many calls from people asking when they could get the vaccine, and we are truly limited to vaccinating phase 1a priority groups until we are told we can officially open it up to the next phase, which will be group 1b. The Iowa Department of Public Health has not released a date on when that will happen, and our impression is it may not happen until early February. We would love to ay it’s going to happen sooner than that, but we need to wait for confirmation from the state.”
Those with questions are encouraged to call DCPH at 712-339-6050, visit www.lakeshealth.org and follow Lakes Regional Healthcare on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.