JOHNSTON, Iowa — On Wednesday, Gov. Kim Reynolds said the state is anticipating vaccinating the millionth Iowan by the end of this week.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of Tuesday, Iowa had administered more than 952,000 doses to those 18 years and older. Reynolds said that's 27% of Iowa's population.
Reynolds said Iowa is 10th in the nation for vaccination rates. She also noted 290,800 second doses have been administered, so 13% of Iowans are fully vaccinated, ranking 27th in the nation.
"We projected that 70% of our first responders, child care providers or K-12 teachers have received at least one dose," Reynolds said. "More than 90% of our long-term care residents will be complete with their second dose by the end of the month."
Almost 94% of Iowans 65 years and older have received at least one dose, according to Reynolds.
Reynolds reminded those Iowans that they can call 2-1-1 to schedule vaccine appointments at a Hy-Vee location near them.
The newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been put to use in Iowa. Of the 25,600 doses sent initially, more than 18,400 have been administered to essential workers.
Reynolds said this number may not be completely accurate since the state is still updating the data.
J&J administration rates will be added to the state's COVID-19 dashboard by the end of the week for Iowans to track administration rates.
Reynolds said the White House projects weekly vaccine allocations to continue to increase in the next few weeks. The state will receive an additional 4,000 J&J doses as part of the increase.
Some counties will move quickly through phases as allocation increases, which is why Iowa opened up vaccine eligibility on Monday to those under 65 years old with pre-existing conditions.
"We need to do everything that we can to keep this vaccine moving," Reynolds said. "Nothing should unnecessarily hold up the process, so when counties are ready to move to the next eligibility tier, we must enable them to do so."
A few states have opened up eligibility to all of their residents, but Reynolds said Iowa already has a good process in place for vaccine administration.
"I think we've demonstrated that as we continue to scale the ability to do the clinics and to reach Iowans that we have made it possible for the different counties to move into the next tier when they've met the criteria in each of the ones that we've laid out," Reynolds said. "So every day we're evaluating that and we're talking about what makes sense for us to move forward."
Reynolds said this is also based on the allocations that Iowa gets.
Reynolds to issue executive order to establish child care task force
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will sign her eighth Executive Order Wednesday to establish a child care task force to address the state's issues that have been around since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reynolds said the Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which was established to help Iowa recover following the pandemic, identified child care as the number one opportunity for economic growth.
The Governor's Child Care Task Force will be chaired by Emily Schmitt, general counsel of Sukup Manufacturing. Schmitt also served on the Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
"The report we released just this past month identified the priority to confront and address Iowa's child care crisis," Schmitt said. "Iowa has the highest rate in the entire country with households of all parents working. We also face a shortage of high-quality child care in every corner of the state."
Schmitt said one estimate calculates this shortage to be around 350,000 child care slots statewide.
"This means that there are three or more children that need care for every one existing child care slot," Schmitt said. "Unfortunately, 23% of Iowans live in a child care desert."
In rural Iowa, that stat goes up to 35%, according to Schmitt. She said one of her goals with the new task force is to take an "expansive view" of Iowa's child care needs.
"I've seen firsthand that childcare availability directly impacts our workforce. We also cannot ignore that 60% of the workers that left the workforce in this past year were women," Schmitt said. "The pandemic has disproportionately affected women's opportunities for pursuing their [opportunities] for careers and advancement. And that is a reality that we cannot accept."
Schmitt said the task force will study other state's models to see what could work for Iowa.
"We're also going to think of how to incentivize Iowa employers to be partners with this child care assistance, and we're going to measure our success with a goal of increasing Iowa's child care slots by 50% within five years," Schmitt said.
The Iowa Department of Human Services and Iowa Workforce Development will award more than $13 million to support the expansion of child care across the state, Reynolds announced.