One of the signs that the COVID vaccination effort is making progress is 20 Iowa county health departments have refused all or part of their doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines this week.
Winnebago County Health Department Director Julie Sorenson says her department asked for half of what they had been getting, as she says the need isn’t as high. “The demand is not there and other counties could use that. And, I can’t meet the 80 percent right now. So, we’re taking our allotment, we’re only taking half of our allotment. We are allotted 200 doses, we are only taking a hundred doses.”
The state requires counties to use 80% of their doses to continue to get the same allocation. Hancock County Health Department director Chelcee Schlueger also asked for just half of their allotment. “We’ve been giving a lot of doses — we just don’t have the arms to continue at the capacity of the allocation that they are giving us moving forward — due to the large amount of allocation that we got from Johnson and Johnson and the large amount of arms that we hit last week,” Schleuger says.
Hancock County Community Health has held clinics every week averaging an administration rate of 400 doses per week. More than 3,830 area residents, or 46.2% of the total 8,292 vaccine-eligible Hancock County residents, have received at least one dose of the vaccine while many have received their required two doses.
Kossuth County Public Health Director Lindsey Nilles says her county won’t be taking any doses this week. “We feel like our county is reaching a saturation point,” she says. “We haven’t been booking our doses completely the last two weeks — and it is just more readily available in multiple places within our county and counties nearby.”
The Iowa Department of Public Health website showed more than 1.9 million doses of the vaccine had been given as of this morning. That includes more than 394,00 people who have gotten at least the first dose of the two-dose vaccines.
(By A. J. Taylor KIOW, Forest City)