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Phase 1B vaccinations to begin 'no later' than Feb. 1, IDPH says

The Iowa Infectious Disease Advisory Council recommends Iowans 75 years and older and high-risk individuals should be next to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced Tuesday they accepted the Infectious Disease Advisory Council's (IDAC) recommendation for who can get the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1B of the state's distribution plan. 

IDAC recommends Iowans 75 years and older, as well as high-risk individuals, should be listed in Phase 1B. High-risk populations include Iowans most vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19 or who are at high-risk for serious illness if infected with the virus.

Individuals with disabilities living in home settings, correctional facilities, other congregate settings and meatpacking plant workers are some examples, according to IDPH. 

The state's top public health agency accepted these recommendations in full with two additions: inspectors responsible for health, life and safety as well as government officials and their staff. 

The federal government informed IDPH of "significant increased availability of the vaccine." 

The increased availability is based on the state's ability to distribute supply quickly and the number of residents 65 years and older. Iowans under 65 years old with significant health conditions are also included.

Once IDPH can confirm vaccine supply meets the demands of this broader eligibility criteria, they will allow those individuals to be vaccinated. 

IDPH estimates 300,000-400,000 doses of vaccine are needed to complete Phase 1A statewide. As of Tuesday, Iowa has received about 226,000 doses. 

They said Monday 96,686 Iowans have been administered in the state. Of those, 91,501 are Iowa residents. 

"Vaccination of Phase 1B populations will begin no later than the first of February, and will take several weeks to complete," IDPH said in a release.

However, this timeline is subject to change. 

More details on where Phase 1B populations can be vaccinated are to come soon, IDPH said, and many of the vaccines will be administered via employer-based clinics. 

The state currently has around 1,700 vaccine providers, which vary from pharmacies to clinical offices that are able to screen people before they get the vaccine and schedule appointments. 

As Iowans wait for the vaccine, it's important to continue practicing mitigation efforts such as staying home when sick, practicing social distancing, washing hands often and wearing a face covering when in public.