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Vaccine appointments week of Feb. 1 through Polk County Health Department website fill up in 10 minutes

First responders and PreK-12 school staff can be vaccinated as part of Phase 1B starting Monday. Polk County residents 65+ became eligible on Jan. 21.

With demand for vaccine appointments surging, Polk County officials said Friday it will take a while before all eligible residents are vaccinated.

"We are very frustrated because we have had many of the process and procedures in place to vaccinate a large number of people but we simply, obviously, do not have enough vaccine," Supervisor Angela Connolly said. 

Residents 65 years and older can get the vaccine in Iowa's largest county, but all appointments through the county health department for next week were completely booked within 10 minutes of registration opening Friday at noon.

Additional Polk County appointments may be available through Hy-Vee.

Primary care doctors are able to notify eligible patients by phone, mail or through online health system portals if appointments become available. Residents should not reach out to clinics directly.

Starting Monday, all Iowans 65 and up, along with first responders and PreK-12 school staff, can get the vaccine as part of the state's updated Phase 1B plan.

Polk County is opening a specific call center for senior citizens on Monday as well, which will be staffed during regular business hours: the number is 515-323-5221. The phone number for the general public is 211.

"If I heard thing it's that they can't navigate the website or don't have a computer," Connolly said.

The county also detailed the number of vaccines it expects to arrive for the week of Feb. 1:

  • 7,075 total vaccines 
    • 4,500 Moderna for second doses
    • 1,600 for Moderna first doses 
    • 975 Pfizer for first doses

"At this time the demand for the COVID-19 vaccine far exceeds our supply. Appointments are based upon available vaccine supply. We do not make appointments without having a shot attached to them," Polk County Health Director Helen Eddy said.

"This process will take some time, but we will not stop until everyone who wishes to be vaccinated is vaccinated."

Individuals in Phase 1A such as health care workers are still able to be vaccinated, tightening the availability of the vaccines.

"You can see the math, it doesn't add up," Eddy said.

Counties such as Mahaska, Wapello and Webster have reported low vaccine stock ahead of next week's expanded vaccination group.

The Iowa Department of Public Health works with the federal government to bring in doses of the vaccine each week. The state then allocates those doses to each county based on population.

On Thursday, IDPH said Iowa will receive 19,500 Pfizer doses and 25,800 Moderna doses from Feb. 1 to Feb. 15.

To check for available appointments at Polk County clinic, click here.

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

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