Iowans age 65 and older will become eligible for a Covid vaccination, starting next month, but Governor Kim Reynolds cautions the state isn’t getting as many doses as it needs to meet vaccination goals.
“We are restricted on the number of doses that are coming into the state,” Reynolds said late this morning, “and so hopefully working with the administration and with new vaccines coming on board, that allocation will continue to grow.”
The state this week has just 19,500 doses of Covid for people outside of the nursing home industry. State officials say by the end of January, nursing home residents and staff should have received their first doses. With today’s announcement regarding those 65 and older, another half a million Iowans are added to the list of those eligible to get in line for a first dose.
Governor Reynolds is urging Iowans not to telephone, but to follow county public health departments on social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook to determine if and when they’re eligible.
“This is no small undertaking and I cannot emphasize enough that Iowans will need to be patient,” Reynolds said. “Vaccines are coming and there’s good news on the horizon, but it’s just going to take some time.”
Reynolds spoke by phone today with Democratic Congresswoman Cindy Axne and plans to talk with the rest of Iowa’s congressional delegation to air concerns about Iowa’s allocation of Covid vaccine. Reynolds told reporters Iowa’s share of the vaccine distribution doesn’t seem to account for the fact that Iowa has a greater percentage of elderly citizens when compared to other states.
“Iowa ranks 46th nationally in the amount of doses being allocated to our state,” Reynolds said, “near the very bottom of the list.”
Iowa ranks 31st among the 50 states in total population. Reynolds did not name names, but the governor debunked recent statements from Trump Administration officials and indicated it will be some time before the supply meets demand.
“The national vaccine supply remains limited,” Reynolds said. “Each state is being allocated a weekly amount and despite conflicting information that’s been communicated over the last couple of weeks, states cannot place orders for additional vaccines.”
According to the governor, 22,000 Iowa health care workers have received their second and final dose of the vaccine. First responders, child care workers and educators are the priority in the next group of Iowans eligible for a Covid shot, along with those who are 65 or over.