Polk County and State Health Departments Differ on Plans for Next Round of Iowans Immunized

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DES MOINES, Iowa — On the day that the Polk County Health Department announced that a partnership with Hy-Vee Pharmacies will ensure that 14,000 residents waiting on a second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will receive it within the CDC’s 28-42 day recommended time frame following the first dose, the director also said limited supply may necessitate the county to take a different approach to other vaccinations.

Currently, the Iowa Department of Public Health forecasts to immunize larger groups of essential workers (those working in food processing, agriculture production, distribution and manufacturing) in April.

Polk County Health Director Helen Eddy said the decision — which could change depending on future supply changes — is all about limited available vaccine. “What we are asking these manufacturing facilities to do in this environment of extremely limited supply is that we may not have enough vaccines to vaccinate all of their frontline workers,” Eddy said, “So within even those frontline workers, they may need to prioritize depending on vaccine supply.”

Eddy’s current guidelines for the county would prioritize workers with underlying health conditions.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports that 52,528 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine (Pfizer of Moderna) and 36,074 have received both of the recommended doses.

Eddy doesn’t expect any of the newly-approved doses of Johnson and Johnson to arrive in the county this week but is hopeful that the county will receive those in the near future.

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