State officials say those counties fell below administering at least 80% of the doses it had received. Jennifer Havens, the CEO of UnityPoint Health in Grinnell, says Poweshiek County scheduled this week’s vaccinations on Friday and weren’t aware state officials would check the schedule on Thursday.
“It’s not that we’re hanging onto them,” she says. “We had every dose accounted for.”
Havens says that’s why Poweshiek County officials appealed the decision state officials made.
“As of this weekend, they have set forth new expectations and clarity and so we will fall within every plan and we will far exceed 80% moving forward,” she says, “if the rules don’t change.”
Poweshiek County went ahead with a vaccination clinic for 200 people. Havens says she’s proud of the county’s public health department and when the state looks at numbers again, the county will have administered well above 80% of its doses.
“We will move heaven and earth to do what we have to do,” Havens says. “Until we can get some semblance of consistency around the timing and the amount, this is going to continue to be a big challenge.”
Buchanan County Health Department Director Tai Burkhart says learning the county would not get its 400 dose allocation this week was one of the hardest things she’s experienced in her career.
“It felt like the county residents had been let down and 400 people were anticipating getting doses this week,” she says.
Burkhart says the governor’s office informed her on Monday that the county could use its 360 second doses as first doses and it would replace those second doses by the end of this week. Burkhart says she’s still waiting for an explanation of how state officials calculated that Buchanan County hadn’t met the goal of administering at least 80% of its first doses.
“This just caused undue stress and we don’t need any more of that than what we already have,” Burkhart says, “so that’s why it’s just really frustrating when you when you work your hardest and try to do your best — and then something like this happens.”
Chickasaw, Hancock, and Washington Counties are the other three counties not getting an allocation of vaccine this week. State officials say they expect every Iowa county to get a share of doses next week, distributed based on population.
(By Tim Dill, KGRN, Grinnell and Iowa Public Radio’s Natalie Krebs)