January 22, 2021 – Vaccinations for COVID-19 administered by Dickinson County Public Health (DCPH) are ready to move to the next phase. Lakes Regional Healthcare (LRH) Director of Population and Public Health Katy Burke said some people in Phase 1B may be vaccinated soon. The process to do so, however, involves several steps.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), the vaccine is to be distributed to those in Phase 1B in five steps known as tiers. DCPH will begin administering the vaccine to those in Tier 1 first, which includes:
• Persons aged 65 and older
• First responders (firefighters, police officers, child welfare social workers)
• Pre-K through 12th grade school staff, early childhood education, and childcare workers
“The definition of those in Tier 1 of Phase 1B has been modified already this week to broaden the age group but limit the occupations,” said Burke. “Earlier this week those in Tier 1 were to include only those ages 75 and older and also include those in the manufacturing industry, but just yesterday that changed to include those ages 65 and older but those in manufacturing will now be included in Tier 2.”
DCPH recently released a questionnaire on LRH’s website and Facebook page for Dickinson County residents interested in receiving the vaccine. The questionnaire is designed to help DCPH communicate COVID-19 vaccine clinic information to those eligible to receive the vaccine as quickly as possible once the vaccine is available. Burke said they’ve already received over 1,000 responses to the questionnaire and receive nearly 100 more each day. “We appreciate the feedback and are working to risk stratify everyone and approach vaccine distribution in a thoughtful, responsible way. Our goal is that those most susceptible to a bad health outcome to COVID-19 based on their age and health conditions get the vaccine first.”
DCPH has been receiving an average of 200 doses each week. “We get notified each week regarding how much we’ll receive, but have no promise or expectation that we’ll receive any doses at all each week, or if we’ll receive more than we’ve been receiving,” said Burke. “Based on the average we have been receiving, it will take quite a while to vaccinate everyone in Phase 1B, because those just in Tier 1 alone include 5,000 Dickinson County residents. We understand not everyone will want to get the vaccine, but regardless, it will still take a while to get Tier 1 – and those in all five tiers of Phase 1B – vaccinated.”
Plans for vaccination clinics are being determined, with expectations to hold the first clinics the week of February 1. Burke said those eligible to receive the vaccine will receive phone calls or emails beforehand so they can schedule their appointments. Information will also be provided on LRH’s website, LRH’s Facebook page, and in local newspapers, radio stations, and church bulletins.
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.