State health officials say Covid-19 vaccinations will start Monday for residents and staff of Iowa’s long-term care facilities, despite a 20% reduction in the amount of vaccine in Iowa’s allotment.
Kelly Garcia, interim director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, said the newly-approved Moderna vaccine can be distributed in smaller batches, so it’s likely to be more widely used in rural Iowa.
“However, to be clear, we’re still in the early stages where our efforts are focused solely on health care workers and long term care settings,” she said during the governor’s news conference late this morning.
As of last night, officials report 8400 Iowa health care workers had been vaccinated with Pfizer’s vaccine. Iowa is among 24 states getting fewer doses than originally announced of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Governor Reynolds said starting next week, Iowa vaccination teams have been given permission to vaccinate assisted living residents if they’re living on the same campus as a nursing home.
“Because of the reallocation and the number of doses that we were supposed to receive, they have provided some flexibility,” Reynolds said. “…They’ll be able to do it with one trip instead of going back at another date, so I think actually it’ll streamline the process.”
The federal government has waived the requirement that Iowa have at least half of the doses needed in state before starting vaccinations at long term care facilities.
“This flexibility is why we have been able to keep on schedule with our launch of the program,” Garcia said, “even though our initial allocations have adjusted.”
Vaccination teams employed by Walgreens, CVS and Community Pharmacy will be giving the shots at long term care and assisted living facilities.