Governor Expands Vaccination Eligibility Effective April 5
During her press conference this morning, Governor Reynolds announced that all Iowans age 16 and older could be eligible for vaccinations beginning April 5, depending upon anticipated increases in vaccine allocations. Reynolds stated that the White House Task Force expects to significantly increase allocations nationwide in the coming weeks.
The Dubuque County Public Health Incident Management Team will continue to work with local vaccine providers to prepare for this major eligibility expansion while focusing on eligible priority groups. As always, scheduling and vaccinations will be dependent upon allocations received each week. Residents are asked to remain patient but encouraged to get vaccinated when they are eligible and a vaccination appointment is available.Residents currently eligible are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Updates on vaccination opportunities will continue to be shared as they are available.
B.1.1.7 Variant Circulating in Iowa, Present in Dubuque County
Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants emerge and persist. Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States and globally during this pandemic. There are currently three COVID-19 variants present in the U.S., with the B.1.1.7 variant the most common.
An additional 38 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in Iowa were announced by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) today. IDPH also confirmed one case of the variant in Dubuque County. This brings Iowa's total to 63 cases of B.1.1.7. This increase in the number of detected variants provides further support that this variant is circulating here in the state of Iowa, as it is across the U.S.
This increase in the number of detected variants comes in part as a result of increasing the number of tests being sequenced by the State Hygienic Lab (SHL) for the B.1.1.7 variant. Based on epidemiologic and modeling data, researchers believe that the B.1.1.7 strain can be spread more easily than the original strain of COVID-19. Researchers believe current COVID-19 vaccines will likely protect against B.1.1.7, and additional studies are ongoing.
It’s critical for Iowans to get the vaccine when one is made available to them. Reaching herd immunity will be important in slowing virus transmission.
The emergence of new variants underscores that it remains critical for Iowans to continue the mitigation efforts that we know work to slow the spread of COVID-19:
- 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
- Get tested if you are exposed to, or have symptoms of COVID-19
- Get a COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available to you
For more information on COVID-19 variants, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant.html.