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Local health departments brace as Iowa announces vaccines for all adults

Vaccines will open up to all adults April 5, as long as the state gets promised allotment of doses.
Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 10:36 PM CDT
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MILLS COUNTY, Iowa (WOWT) - Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Wednesday vaccinations will open up to all adults on April 5 — as long as the state gets the promised allotment of doses.

The announcement came just a couple of weeks after Iowa opened up the vaccine to people with underlying conditions, and some on the ground worry those very people could now fall through the cracks.

“I’m on oxygen at home and stuff and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on, so I was scared to get it, especially with it going into your lungs and stuff,” said 56-year-old Cindy Hunt, who was getting the COVID vaccine in Mills County on Thursday.

It’s people like Hunt, with underlying conditions, that have health officials worried.

“These people that we’re now finally starting to schedule they’ve been waiting a long time,” said Lorrie Greiner, Director of Nursing, Mills County Public Health. “I think our obligation is to complete the 64 and under with underlying health conditions and then move onto the general population.”

They’re determined to not let those with underlying conditions fall through the cracks.

“How that looks at this point, we’ll take a few days and figure it out and come up with a plan as we’ve been doing throughout this whole pandemic,” Greiner said.

They are preparing themselves to manage even more demand, relying on more supply.

“We tell people everyday we have a limited amount of vaccine and I don’t think they know what limited means until we actually say the doses,” Greiner said.

In Mills County, the two local pharmacies are getting 500 doses a week, and the health department is getting much less.

“When you have 15,000 people in a county and you’re getting 200 doses a week, that just doesn’t go very far,” Greiner said.

Cindy Hunt feels like one of the lucky ones. She was on a waiting list to get an unclaimed vaccine and got the call.

“I want to be safe, that’s why I got here as soon as I could,” Hunt said.

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