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Vaccine Supply and Demand: State Shifting Focus to Hesitant Iowans

Coronavirus Impacting Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa – It’s been two weeks since COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opened for adult Iowans across the state.

There’s a lot that’s happened during that time when it comes to distribution, most notably the pause of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine last week. 

In addition, some counties even declined shipments due to lack of demand. However, larger communities including Polk County are still seeing a demand for the vaccine.

“Our vaccine supply is increasing. We are starting to see more, but we know that there are still many residents in Polk County that want a vaccine,” Nola Aigner Davis, public health communications officer at Polk County Health Department, said. “Our whole goal is, we will get everyone vaccinated that wants to be vaccinated.”

Polk County Health Department posted to Facebook on Sunday saying they had many open first-dose appointments for this week. The state’s focus is to now get hesitant Iowans to sign up for them.

“We’ve moved from it being a really scarce supply, which required a ton of patience,” Kelly Garcia, interim director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, said. “And now we’re moving into a space where we really do need to focus on talking with these Iowans who may be on the fence about taking the vaccines or who now have questions, which is completely normal.”

Garcia said the state will shift focus from large clinics to a targeted strategy. To reach adults who are hesitant about getting the vaccine, state health officials will be hosting virtual information sessions.

IDPH, Iowa State Extension and Outreach, and University of Iowa are partnering to host the sessions. Iowans will hear from experts about vaccine creation, safety, and efficacy and will even be able to ask questions.

“This is an opportunity that we know people will have additional questions because of the J&J pause and that’s OK,” Garcia said. “It’s a great time actually to enter this forum. We want to ensure all Iowans have the information they need to feel safe and confident in their decision to be vaccinated.”

There will be a session happening on April 19 at 6:00 p.m. There’s another one taking place on April 24 at 10:00 a.m. That one will be in Spanish.

They are free to participate in, but you do need to register online. To learn more, visit iowacovidinfo.org

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