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Iowa Department of Public Health Expands Eligibility for COVID-19 Vaccine

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Dickinson County Public Health (DCPH) has been administering COVID-19 vaccine to people in Phase 1B, Tier 1 according to Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) guidelines. Beginning next week, the IDPH is expanding vaccine distribution to those persons aged 64 and younger with medical conditions that are or may be an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

The IDPH’s announcement comes as several Iowa counties have reported they are nearing completion for vaccinating previous priority population groups, which unfortunately is not the case for DCPH. According to Lakes Regional Healthcare Director of Population and Public Health Katy Burke, although the state has expanded the groups eligible to receive the vaccine, the state has not increased the number of doses. “Dickinson County Public Health is only able to proceed with additional populations after those in Tier 1, including education and childcare workers, are vaccinated, and that is based on how many doses we receive each week. We continue to vaccinate people aged 65 and older, including those with underlying health conditions, following our risk-stratification approach,” she said. “We would still like those who are interested in having the vaccine to complete our online questionnaire so we can contact them when they are eligible to receive the vaccine.”

DCPH understands not everyone is comfortable waiting for the vaccine based on their health conditions and Public Health’s risk stratification process. Burke mentioned there are other organizations in the area that provide the vaccine without considering a person’s vulnerability to COVID-19. A list of vaccine providers can be found at www.vaccinate.iowa.gov/. Those who are interested in scheduling a vaccination appointment at a local Hy-Vee Pharmacy can begin the process by visiting https://www.hy-vee.com/my-pharmacy/covid-vaccine.

Although it is positive that others in the area are receiving vaccine and able to administer it, vaccine production has not fully met the demand for vaccine across the state. Burke encourages everyone to remain patient as production increases. In the meantime, DCPH encourages people to continue social distancing, wearing a mask, washing hands frequently with soap and water, staying home if you feel sick, and getting tested if symptoms arise. Lakes Regional Healthcare’s Test Iowa Clinic is still testing people for COVID-19 from 7 to 9 am and 3 to 5 pm Mondays through Thursdays and from 7 to 9 am on Fridays.

To stay updated on COVID-19 vaccination in Dickinson County, please follow Lakes Regional Healthcare online at www.lakeshealth.org, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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