Governor Reynolds.

Governor Kim Reynolds says a new state website will be available, starting tomorrow, with information on COVID-19 vaccines, who is eligible to get a shot and links to providers giving shots.

“But I want to be clear, you cannot schedule an appointment on this site or register to be contacted when scheduling is available,” Reynolds said during a news conference late this morning, “but it will connect you to a provider for scheduling in their system.”

A private company built the website this past week after Reynolds cancelled a contract with Microsoft for a website that would have helped Iowans schedule shots. The new website will have a “vaccine locator.”

“You can find providers near you, click through to their websites to check availability and get details about scheduling,” Reynolds said.

State officials say the website will be functional for smart phones as well as laptops and other computers. In addition, a call-in system is being set up to help Iowans age 65 and over who’ve been unable to schedule vaccinations. The governor said operators answering calls to 211 will begin that service the week of March 8.

“In the meantime, some vaccine navigators will start tomorrow by contacting older Iowans who have reached out to their Area Agencies on Aging,” Reynolds said.

According to the governor, the agencies have taken calls from “hundreds” of older Iowans who need help getting scheduled for a shot.

Centers for Disease Control data shows about 622,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered to Iowans — and nearly 53% of Iowans over the age of 65 have had at least their first dose.

“The progress we’ve made over the last several weeks is pushing us toward a turning point in our Covid-19 recovery,” Reynolds said, “and I’m committed to continuing this forward momentum in Iowa.”

Reynolds said it’s expected that 70% of the so-called “Tier One” populations in Iowa will have gotten at least one dose, which includes first responders, K-12 teachers and child care workers, so the state’s planning ahead for the next group.

“Essential workers and individuals with disabilities living in home settings are expected to start vaccination in early March and achieve the 70% mark in early April,” Reynolds said. “At that time, we could again expand to the next eligible group.”

Doses of the third vaccine, made by Johnson and Johnson, will begin arriving in Iowa next week, with an initial shipment of 25,800 doses. It will require only a single vaccination, with no follow-up booster shot and may be stored in a standard refrigerator. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines must be stored in freezers.