Iowa Gov. Reynolds announces launch of additional aid in scheduling COVID-19 vaccines

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Iowa will launch a new website, vaccinate.iowa.gov, Feb. 26.

The website will inform Iowans about COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and availability, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced at a news conference Thursday.

The website will connect Iowans with providers for scheduling vaccines after putting in their zip codes and provide information in several languages.

Also starting Feb. 26, “vaccine navigators” will contact seniors who have reached out to area agencies attempting to get vaccination appointments.

If the seniors have exhausted their options for scheduling and are technologically disadvantaged, they will be asked for permission to share their contact information with 211 vaccine navigators to receive help scheduling an appointment, Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging Executive Director Joe Sample said. Seniors will only be asked for their name, birthdate and county to arrange a vaccine appointment at a nearby Hy-Vee store.

“I want to remind older Iowans that scammers are actively attempting to sell you access to getting the vaccine,” Sample said. “Please remain diligent in not providing your personal and financial information, such as your social security number, your credit card or your date of birth, to anyone who calls you, texts you or emails you for that information so they can somehow get you access through an extra payment mechanism to the vaccine. The vaccine is free of charge.”

Iowa is also expecting to receive an increased allocation “by 1 million doses” of vaccines from the federal government and “beginning next week, they hope to forecast state allocations from anywhere up to two to three months in advance,” Reynolds said.

If the Federal Drug Administration approves of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Feb. 26 as scheduled, Iowa should receive 25,800 doses of that vaccine in the state’s initial allocation next week, according to the briefing, she said.

The Centers for Disease Control reported that Iowa has administered nearly 622,000 vaccine doses to eligible Iowan adults, 19.2% of Iowans have received at least one dose, and 271,000 Iowan seniors, 65 and older, have at least had their first dose of the vaccine.

In the past week, more than 83,000 Iowans have received a vaccine and more than 64,000 of those were first doses. A projected 70% of Tier 1 populations will have received at least one dose of vaccine by next week, and an estimated 70% of Iowan seniors will have received their first dose by mid-March.

Reynolds said essential workers and individuals with disabilities living in home settings are expected to start receiving vaccines in mid-March and 70% are expected to have received at least the first dose of the vaccine by early April, at which time the next eligible group could begin receiving the vaccine.

“I want to reiterate that projections are just estimates, and these are intended to provide Iowans with a sense of how long it will take to vaccinate each population and when vaccine could open up further,” she said. “They’re not hard dates, and some areas of the state will be able to transition to their next eligible population more quickly than others.”

Shipping delays due to severe weather last week delayed vaccine delivery, creating a backlog of 6 million doses, White House Senior Advisor for the COVID Response Team Andy Slavitt said in a news briefing on Feb. 19.

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Charlotte Lozier Institute noted that the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines use abortion-derived fetal cell lines to produce their vaccines. A Vatican note stated, “it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production” when “ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines” are not available.

“Iowans will know what vaccine they sign up for and can wait for one they want,” the governor’s Communications Director Pat Garrett told The Center Square in a texted statement. “It all depends on supply.”





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