Vaccinations Continue for Phase 1A in Cass County; No Public Vaccine YetJanuary 5, 2021
Atlantic, IA — Following the Emergency Use Authorization of both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is partnering with county public health departments to begin vaccinating Iowans. Both vaccines are currently being administered in Iowa to the Phase 1A priority populations of health care personnel and long-term care residents and staff.
“It’s exciting to see that residents and staff of local long-term care facilities have already received their first doses of the vaccinations. Of the 500 doses that we received for healthcare personnel, we’ve already given about 70%. We still have a quite a few within the Phase 1A group that are going to be vaccinated later this week, so we anticipate that by Friday we’ll have used 85 to 90% of this first allocation,” said Cass County Public Health Director Beth Olsen.
As more vaccines become available, Iowa’s Infectious Disease Advisory Council (IDAC), will review guidance issued by the CDC’s advisory group the Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to further prioritize populations to receive the vaccine in Iowa. IDAC is currently reviewing ACIP recommendations for Phase 1B and 1C priority populations.
“What this means is that we expect to hear in the next few weeks about who will be eligible next. We think it could include groups like law enforcement, adults over 75, and essential workers; however, we simply don’t know yet. While certain groups will be prioritized in the coming weeks and months, the national media has stated that it will likely be mid-2021 before the vaccine is available to anyone who wants it.” said Olsen.
While waiting on information from the state about who will be eligible for the next allocation of vaccines, Cass County Public Health has been working on their mass vaccination plans.
“We’ve been working on all of the logistics of our vaccination plan so we can act quickly when it’s time. Until we have the state’s guidance and the vaccines in hand, we are in a holding patten. We will continue to provide updates to the community as we know more. It’s also important for people to know that there is no waiting list for the vaccine. I know people are anxious, and I hope to have it here soon, but there is no special waiting list or anything else that the public needs to do at this time,” said Olsen.
A clinic will be held later this week for those in the Phase 1A priority group. This includes, but is not limited to, people working in:
- Critical care
- Emergency Department
- Infectious Disease
- Primary Care
- Respiratory Therapy
- Emergency Medical Services
- Federally Qualified Health Center
- COVID-19 Vaccinators of Essential Populations
- COVID-19 Specimen collectors
- Staff/physicians of urgent care centers
- Acute care clinic
- Clinical laboratory
- Home health
- Physical Therapy
“If there are Cass County residents who work in these areas, and they want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, they should complete the survey on casshealth.org/covid-19 now so that we can administer their first dose as soon as possible,” said Olsen.
Once Cass County Public Health has completed vaccinating all Phase 1A individuals in the county, any remaining vaccine would go to another county who needs it to finish their phase 1A.
Until vaccine is widely available to all, which as stated above may be sometime around mid-2021, it is crucial that Iowans continue to practice the mitigation measures that can slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
- Wearing a mask or face covering
- Practice social distancing with those outside your household
- Clean your hands frequently with soap and water
- Stay home if you feel sick
For information and updates related to COVID-19, visit https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus/Vaccine and follow IDPH on Facebook (@IowaDepartmentofPublicHealth) and Twitter (@IAPublicHealth).