State public health officials say Iowa’s overall vaccination rate is inching up, but parts of the state are lagging behind. Seventy-one percent of Iowans over the age of 11 have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Ken Sharp of the Iowa Department of Public Health says the vaccination rate is lower among middle-aged white men and 20 to 30 year olds in general.
“We still have, as everybody recognizes, a ways to go, but we are making progress,” he says. “…We continue to see new Iowans come into that dataset to get their first vaccine, so we’re just going to continue to kind of grind away at getting those numbers as high as we possibly can.”
Sharp says about 7000 Iowa kids ages 5 to 11 got their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday. Pfizer’s pediatric dose of the vaccine was approved last week, making more than 280,000 Iowa kids eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“There are some, I think, frustrations we’re hearing that parents weren’t able to get the vaccine where they would normally go to get the vaccine and I think it’s just a matter of timing,” he says. “We’re still taking that as positive news that parents are excited about getting their kids vaccinated and looking for that vaccine very quickly.”
Officials say Iowa received 99,000 pediatric doses of the Pfizer vaccine in its first shipment, and 24,000 more have been ordered. Some major pharmacy chains were able to order thousands of additional doses on their own.
The number of Covid patients hospitalized in Iowa and the number of Iowans testing positive for the virus has increased since last week. By the middle of this week, state officials had confirmed 7166 Iowans have died of Covid since the pandemic began.
(By Katarina Sostaric, Iowa Public Radio)