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Cass County Public Health Set to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

December 18, 2020

Atlantic, IA — As we get closer to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in our county, Cass County Public Health reminds all residents the initial doses of vaccine will be limited and will be available to individuals prioritized according to guidance received from our state and federal partners.

“The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has preemptively suggested the initial doses of vaccine go to health care providers and those in long term care facilities,” said Cass County Public Health Director Beth Olsen. “As more vaccine becomes available, we will be able to offer the vaccine to more people.”

Moderna Vaccine Expected Soon

In Cass County, the first doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to arrive by the end of the month. The vaccine will be prioritized for:

  • Healthcare Personnel: paid and unpaid people serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work remotely.
  • Long Term Care Facility (LTCF) residents. Adults who reside in a residential care facility, nursing facility, skilled nursing facility, assisted living program, or elder group home.

The Moderna vaccine can be refrigerated for 30 days, but the multi-dose vials present a logistical challenge for the staff who will administer it.

“The Moderna vaccine comes in a multi-dose vial, which means that each vial has 10 doses inside of it. Once we open that vial, we only have 6 hours to use all 10 doses. I think we can all recognize that this vaccine is a valuable commodity, and we have to do our part to eliminate any waste. We will be setting up appointments in blocks of 10 so that we know we’re going to use up every dose that is available to us. This could result in some additional waiting times, or it could result in having stand-by appointments,” said Olsen.

Administering the Vaccine to the Public

Cass County Public Health will be administering all COVID-19 vaccines for the public. More information about public vaccinations will be announced once the plans and locations are finalized.

It may be several weeks or months before the vaccine is readily available for the public. There is currently no waiting list or sign-up for the public. More information will become available when we more details are known.

“We are working with local partners to come up with an easy-to-access location for the vaccinations, and we’re also finalizing our strategy on which populations to target first,” said Olsen.
All patients who receive the vaccine will also need to be monitored for 15 minutes afterwards. “There will be no exceptions made to this, so we need everyone to plan accordingly,” said Olsen.

Preventive Measures Still In Place

Everyone should continue taking measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, even after they receive the vaccine:
● Stay home if you’re sick
● Wash your hands often
● Stay six feet away from others at all times
● Wear a mask when you can’t properly social distance from others
● Recognize that older people and those with chronic health conditions like diabetes, obesity, heart issues, and organ transplants have a much higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19

More information is available at our web page at casshealth.org/COVID-19. You can also visit the IDPH Coronavirus page at https://idph.iowa.gov/emerging-health-issues/novel-coronavirus; and the state COVID-19 dashboard at https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/.

Test Iowa information can be found at testiowa.com or casshealth.org/testiowa.
Visitor Information can be found at casshealth.org/about/visiting/
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