DES MOINES, Iowa — Today marks the first day all Iowans age 16 and older can get a COVID-19 vaccine.
To find a vaccine, it is first recommended you call your primary care provider, followed by county health departments and local pharmacies. Though vaccine supply is scarce right now, pharmacists are hoping the days of refreshing your browser and scouring the internet for an appointment will be over soon.
“I anticipate for the next 30 to 60 days, people are going to have to go online and get their vaccines through a pharmacy. But hopefully by the beginning of the summer, sometime in June, we will be able to have enough vaccines so patients will be able to just walk into a pharmacy and get a vaccine without an appointment,” said John Forbes, owner of Medicap Pharmacy in Urbandale.
Until then, here are some tips for finding an appointment.
Iowans who don’t have internet access can call 211 to make an appointment. You can also call your doctor or neighborhood pharmacies which are assisting with scheduling appointments. If you are internet savvy, follow Iowa Vaccine Alerts on Twitter and turn on notifications so you get alerted when appointments open. The Vaccine Hunter website is also helping Iowans find available appointments.
Gov. Kim Reynolds endorsed driving to another town where there are appointments. But pharmacists ask that if you have to cancel your appointment, call to notify them so doses don’t go to waste.
“That way we can make sure that no doses are wasted at the end of the day because when we open up a vial, we have to use that vial within a six-hour timeframe. And if we have canceled doses, at the end of the day we have to try to find people last minute to use that vaccine,” said Forbes.
Remember, while the vaccine is available to anyone 16 and older, only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for use on patients under 18 years old.