Jan. 12, 2021 -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IDPH Announces Phase 1B of COVID-19 Vaccination Priority Groups
Earlier today, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) shared its guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine priority populations for Phase 1B, based on the recommendations put forward by the Iowa Disease Advisory Council (IDAC) and accepted by IDPH interim Director Kelly Garcia.
Due to the current and short-term projections for vaccine allocation for Iowa, the guidelines for Phase 1B focus on all Iowans who are age 75 and over and other high-risk populations who are most vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19 or high-risk for illness as the result of a COVID-19 infection:
- Individuals with disabilities who are dependent on attendant care staff living in home settings, and their attendant care staff, if not otherwise vaccinated under Phase 1a.
- Correctional facility staff and individuals incarcerated, including state and city- or county-operated facilities.
- Staff of and individuals living in congregate settings, not covered by the first two bullets, including shelters, sober living homes, behavioral health treatment centers, and detention centers. (College dormitories are not included as part of Phase 1B.)
- Where public health data indicates outbreaks or clusters of disease among food, agriculture, distribution, and manufacturing workers working in or living in congregate settings that do not allow for social distancing.
- PK-12 school staff, early childhood education, and childcare workers.
- First responders (e.g., firefighters, police officers, and dependent adult abuse and child welfare social workers).
Garcia accepted IDAC’s recommendations in full, modified to include:
- Inspectors responsible for health, life, and safety, including those in hospital and long-term care settings, child, and food production safety
- Government officials, including staff, to ensure continuity of government, engaged in state business at the Iowa Capitol during the legislative session
The Dubuque County Public Health Incident Management Team is using this information to continue to work with local, IDPH-approved vaccine providers to prepare for this next phase of vaccinations. Phase 1A vaccinations of healthcare providers and long-term care residents and staff are continuing in Dubuque County and are anticipated to be completed in two to three weeks.
“Our goal remains to vaccinate as many Dubuque County residents as quickly as the vaccine supply allows,” said Dubuque County Health Department Executive Director Patrice Lambert. “We cannot predict the number of doses we receive from IDPH or when we receive them, so we are focusing on what we can control: being prepared when additional doses arrive. We continue to be pleased with the ability of our partners to get vaccines in the arms of county residents as we receive vaccines.”
Lambert said the incident management team is working with local points of dispensing sites (PODS) who will vaccinate people in Phase 1B. It is expected that some essential workers may be vaccinated at their place of employment. Other locations for eligible residents will be shared with the media and on social media, websites, and other channels when available.
“As soon as vaccination locations and details are available, they will be shared with the public. Vaccination waiting lists are NOT being created so we ask that residents do not call healthcare providers and public health at this time,” added Lambert, speaking on behalf of the Dubuque County Public Health Incident Management Team. “We are encouraged that so many people are anxious to get vaccinated, but we ask for people to be patient as details are finalized.”
Lambert said it is important to remember that, because everyone cannot get vaccinated at the same time, the public is urged to continue to practice virus mitigation efforts:
- Wear a mask or face covering
- Practice social distancing with those outside your household
- Clean your hands frequently with soap and water
- Stay home if you feel sick
IDPH estimates it will require approximately 300-400,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to complete Phase 1A statewide. To date, Iowa has been allocated approximately 226,000 doses. Although the timeline is subject to change, IDPH said vaccination of Phase 1B populations will begin no later than the first of February and is expected to take several weeks to complete.
Additional details on where Phase 1B populations will receive their vaccines is expected soon. Many of these vaccines will be administered via employer-based clinics. There are also approximately 1,700 enrolled vaccine providers in the state, many of which are pharmacies and clinical offices equipped to handle screening and scheduling for vaccination efforts. County health departments are partnering with these providers to ensure their residents have access to the vaccine when it becomes available.
IDPH’s announcement was issued today as the federal government announced its intention to significantly increase distribution of the vaccine to states for vaccination of residents over age 65 and those with significant health conditions. IDPH said it will activate the broader distribution criteria when it has reasonable confidence that supply meets the demands of this broader eligibility criteria.
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