January 7, 2021 – Dickinson County Public Health (DCPH) has been receiving many calls each day from people anxious to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Lakes Regional Healthcare (LRH) Director of Population and Public Health Katy Burke said this is understandable and that DCPH is providing the vaccine as quickly as it is received. She said they have been giving the vaccine to people in priority groups as dictated by Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) guidelines.
Burke said, “So far we’ve received a total of 50 vials of the Moderna vaccine from two shipments. We’ve been able to get 10 to 12 doses out of each vial, and to date we’ve given 501 doses to people that fall into what is known as group 1a. People in group 1a are defined as hospital staff, dentists, pharmacists, volunteer EMTs, and more.”
The initial doses DCPH received do not include vaccine for staff and residents in nursing homes and other long-term care and assisted living facilities. Burke said those facilities are receiving the vaccine through the pharmacies they contract with, such as Walgreens, CVS, and Community Pharmacy.
DCPH receives communication from IDPH each week regarding whether or not they will be receiving any vaccine for the upcoming week. Burke said they then schedule COVID vaccine clinics as necessary and contact those in the group that can receive the vaccine via email or phone calls.
According to Burke, about 900 people in Dickinson County are included in group 1a. She said, however, that it is up to the individuals in the group whether or not to receive the vaccine. In the instance more vaccine is received than is needed to vaccinate a group based on individual decisions, DCPH still needs to wait for authorization from IDPH before they can start vaccinating people in other priority groups. Once the approval is given, DCPH will contact the people in these groups through multiple media channels, including news releases, radio, newspaper, and LRH social media, so they know to come in and get vaccinated.
Burke said within the next week, LRH will be putting a survey on their website at www.lakeshealth.org where people can provide their name, age, email address, phone number, health conditions (if under age 65), and interest in receiving the vaccine or not.
She went on to say, “DCPH is currently waiting on the definition for Iowa’s official priority groups 1b and 1c, which will be defined by the Iowa Infectious Disease Advisory Council. Currently, DCPH is referring to the priority groups set by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which is a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
The groups, in priority order, are as follows:
This group includes:
- People that have direct patient contact, are unable to telework, who provide services to patients or patients’ family members, or who handle infectious materials.
- Residents of long-term care facilities.
This group includes:
- Frontline essential workers such as fire fighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, United States Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the educational sector (teachers, support staff, and daycare workers.)
- People aged 75 years and older because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. People aged 75 years and older who are also residents of long-term care facilities should be offered vaccination in Phase 1a.
This group includes:
- People aged 65—74 years because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19.
- People aged 16—64 years with underlying medical conditions, which increase the risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19.
- Other essential workers, such as people who work in transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety, and public health.
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.