“We are very, very close to having nearly half of the adult population vaccinated, fully, in the two-dose series, so that is incredible news for the state,” Iowa Department of Public Health acting director Kelly Garcia said this morning.
The number of Iowans who’ve gotten a Covid shot has now surpassed the percentage of Iowans who typically get the seasonal flu shot. Garcia said it’s likely because Iowans are considering the higher mortality rate among those who contract Covid.
“The vaccine remains the most powerful tool to turn the page on this pandemic,” Garcia said during an hour-long call-in session with AARP members.
The state website tracking Covid-related data shows just one Iowa nursing home has a Covid outbreak today. In early December, before the vaccines were available, there were outbreaks at 167 Iowa nursing homes. Garcia said the turn-around is because “an unprecedented” percentage of nursing home residents have been vaccinated.
“That is the contributing factor to our low outbreak numbers and so we need to keep it there, make sure that we’re really focusing on new admissions and on staff who come and go out of the facility,” Garcia said. “That work is absolutely in place and it will be in place for the long term.”
State officials say nearly 88,000 Iowans got the one-dose Johnson and Johnson shot. Tomorrow, federal officials are expected to address the pause in giving Johnson and Johnson shots. European officials have resumed Johnson and Johnson vaccinations, with a warning about a possible link to side effects, along with advice that the vaccine’s benefits far outweigh the risk.