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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Rural Iowa pharmacist says convincing young people to get the vaccine is a big obstacle

Eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine has expanded to everyone 16 and older in Iowa, but some providers are seeing vaccine hesitancy.

BLOOMFIELD, Iowa — Any Iowan over the age of 16 is now eligible to sign up for a coronavirus vaccine appointment, but in some areas of the state, the anticipated eagerness isn't happening.

Mylo Wells, 27, owns Wells Hometown Drug in Bloomfield, about two hours from Des Moines. The pharmacy has vaccinated the older population and are now moving to vaccine all ages. 

"We wanted to do a large clinic so that we could give to anyone 16 and above," Wells said. "But right now, we have hundreds of openings."

The clinic Wells is planning is for this Friday and Saturday. 

He gets the vaccines from the federal government, not the state. This week, he'll be giving out Pfizer shots

The biggest obstacle for Wells is finding arms for the vaccine doses.

"Our population is a little bit older and has some pre-existing conditions. So a lot of them qualified before now," he told Local 5. "But I think we're seeing vaccine hesitancy with the new age group, healthy 20-to-50-year-olds seem to be less likely to get the vaccine."

Wells said two factors he has seen contributing to the vaccine hesitancy in younger people include misinformation online about the vaccine, as well as the fact many of these individuals are less likely to have an established relationship with a pharmacy or medical provider.

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"The people that are more likely to get the vaccine are our patients that we see once a month, that we get to have conversations with," Wells said. "If those patients are healthy all year, we may not get to talk with them as much and they might not be getting their information about the vaccine from a reliable source."

Wells has reached out to Brian Finley, the Iowa City programmer who designed the Iowa Vaccine Alerts Twitter account, who shared his website with followers to bring awareness to the pharmacy's vaccine availability.

"You just got to be your own advocate when you're not a corporation," Wells said. "And I think that we offer them more personal service than what a corporate pharmacy would."

You can visit Wells Hometown Drug's website here to get more information about the vaccine clinics.

Watch more coronavirus coverage from Local 5 on YouTube