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Iowans 65 and up eligible for vaccine Feb. 1 in updated Phase 1B plan

The updated plan includes tiers for people to be vaccinated in Iowa, including teachers, police officers, incarcerated individuals and more.

JOHNSTON, Iowa — Even though Iowa is receiving small vaccine allocations, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Thursday the state has expanded the Phase 1B group to include Iowans 65 years and older. 

Before Thursday, Phase 1B was reserved for Iowans 75 years and older.

"So this is good news, and it's an important step forward, but I want to be very clear: this does not mean that we can open vaccination up to all Iowans, or even that vaccine will be immediately available to all of the groups that have been prioritized in Phase 1B," Reynolds said. 

Iowa's COVID-19 vaccination plan is expected to shift to Phase 1B on Feb. 1.

Phase 1B is now split into five tiers. During this phase, Iowans 65 years and older are able to get the vaccine whenever. Front-line workers were moved to the second tier instead of being first. 

There are more than 500,000 Iowans who are 65 years or older.

  • Tier 1: Police officers, firefighters, child welfare social workers, PK-12 staff, early childhood education and child care workers. This tier includes around 130,000 Iowans. 
  • Tier 2: Front-lline essential workers in food, agriculture and manufacturing sectors who live or work in non-socially distant settings. Individuals with disabilities living in home settings are also included in Tier 2. This tier covers about 600,000 Iowans.
  • Tier 3: Staff and individuals living in congregate settings not covered in the previous phase or tier. Government officials and their staff are also included. There are 13,000 Iowans included in this tear.
  • Tier 4: Inspectors responsible for health, life and safety. Reynolds said there are 1,500 Iowans included in this tier. 
  • Tier 5: Correctional facility staff and incarcerated individuals. There are 13,000 Iowans included in this tier.

The full tier list can be viewed below:

Credit: WOI/Iowa Dept. of Public Health
This illustration shows who is included in the different tiers of Iowa's Phase 1B vaccination plan, set to begin Feb. 1

According to Reynolds, the state has done a lot with "relatively little" vaccines. Iowa received fewer doses than other states. 

Nationally, Iowa is ranked 46th for receiving doses.

"However, when it comes to administering those doses, we're near the top of the list, ranking 15th in the country," Reynolds said. 

She noted Iowa currently receives 19,500 doses per week. This does not include vaccines allocated for long-term care facilities. The federal program that vaccinates these facilities distributes roughly the same amount. 

"The Trump administration did project that our weekly statewide allocation would increase to 39,000 doses by the week of Feb. 8 and could continue to increase by another 10,000 doses each consecutive week through March 1," Reynolds said.

The plans could change due to the Biden administration taking over

Reynolds said her team is working with the new administration to see what allocation numbers will look like. 

Iowa has administered more than 160,000 first doses of vaccine as of Thursday, Reynolds said. Health care workers make up 106,000 of those doses. 

RELATED: CDC report: 15-year-old in Iowa 'inadvertently' given COVID vaccine

As of Wednesday, 82% of the total first doses allocated to the state have gone to health care workers. 

"[Wednesday] we received another shipment and it's already being administered today, and now more than 22,000 health care workers have now received their second dose and are fully vaccinated," Reynolds said. 

Reynolds said it is unfortunate that federal vaccine rollout for Iowa's nearly 450 long-term care facilities has been slower than anticipated. 

"Nearly 116,000 doses and that's, in addition to the 19,500 that the state receives has been allocated to this program, and I will say that significant progress has been made in the last two weeks," she added.

"We've been assured by the providers that first doses will be completed statewide by the end of the month." 

Reynolds said the vaccine dashboard will be launched on the state's coronavirus website next week. 

RELATED: Iowa Department of Public Health publishes COVID-19 vaccination data, website update coming soon

It is going to be "really hard" to make sure the correct populations are getting vaccinated, the governor said.

"We have to be careful about being so rigid. We don't want to throw vaccine away, we want to make sure that we're using it."

"Everybody's gonna do their best to do it right," Reynolds said. "We've got a lot of people that are working hard to make sure that we get this rolled out, and that we get Iowans vaccinated in a timely manner."

Watch Gov. Reynolds' full Jan. 21, 2021 press conference on YouTube

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