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'Just keep trying': Patience for vaccine still needed as Phase 1B begins in Iowa

The state doesn't have a centralized sign-up program. Instead, nearly all vaccine administration is up to county health departments.

NEWTON, Iowa — Eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine in Iowa expanded on Monday to Phase 1B, which covers five tiers of specified occupations and those 65 years and older

There is still a supply shortage of the vaccine, which is why Phase 1B is broken down into tiers. 

Becky Pryor with the Jasper County Health Department told Local 5's Lakyn McGee about their shortage Monday. 

“We need about 9,000 doses to serve everyone in the county," Pryor said. 

The county had only 500 doses allocated to them.

“The lack of vaccine has been hard. That’s been the hardest factor," Pryor said. "We have a lot of people wanting the vaccine, but it’s taking longer to get it out to people.”

However, one vaccine provider said the first day went well despite the shortage.

"It’s been a great [rollout] day here at the Newton Clinic," said Mark Thayer, Newton Clinic's administrator. "I think the day’s gone extremely well. We have over 350 patients scheduled today to receive their initial COVID vaccine dose.”

RELATED: What to expect when you get your COVID-19 vaccine

Jasper County put a halt to scheduling more vaccination appointments this week due to the shortage. Officials are waiting to see how many doses the county receives before scheduling any appointments for next week. 

State and local health officials continue to urge patience while supply is limited.

Jasper County residents who have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine can text "covidimm" to 641-792-2112.

Be sure to continue looking at the Jasper County Health Departments Facebook here for more updates.

Meanwhile in Warren County, health officials started vaccinating Phase 1B residents two weeks ago after wrapping up Phase 1A vaccinations. 

Warren County's website says they're offering the Moderna vaccine. 

Appointments in Warren County are also booked for this week, but they have some advice to get on their list when more doses arrive. 

"We tell them they can call us back on February 8 if they want to come here," said Jodene DeVault, Warren County public health administrator. "But we're encouraging them, if they're a patient of Mercy One or UnityPoint, to call those clinics. Or they can try Medicap in Norwalk, Indianola, Carlisle, or Hyvee pharmacy here in Indianola." 

Warren County schedules appointments for every dose they receive and try to get them into the arms of residents as soon as they can. 

Pharmacies will be critical in vaccine administration for Iowa. Medicap Pharmacy in Urbandale is also offering appointments to Phase 1B persons. 

RELATED: 38% of US nursing home staff getting first COVID shots, CDC says

Marcus Barnes got his shot on Monday.

"I would encourage them to go ahead and do it," Barnes said about getting the shot. "Like I said, it's totally painless. I'm having no adverse effects on it so far. Think we need to get it done."


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