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Phase 1B | How do the Iowa vaccine council and CDC recommendations compare?

Local 5 viewers have messaged our team about the prioritization of certain populations in Iowa's vaccination plan.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Thousands of Iowans anxiously waiting to get the COVID-19 vaccine will likely have to wait months to get the shot, leading to frustrations with the state's vaccination plan.

The Infectious Disease Advisory Council is in charge of setting guidelines for which Iowans are prioritized to receive the vaccine and when they will receive it. The council does not meet publicly. 

IDAC has met nine times over the past two months, holding virtual meetings to go over how to set guidelines for Iowans receiving the vaccine. According to an Iowa Department of Public Health spokeswoman, the council is done meeting for the year. 

With news of Tier 2 in Phase 1B opening up in some parts of the state, many viewers have reached out to Local 5 about who is included in this second tier. 

According to interpretations from the Dallas County and Polk County Health Departments, only essential workers in food processing, manufacturing, and distribution environments and Iowans who live or work in congregate settings with no ability to social distance can get the vaccine.

Restaurant workers, farmers, grocery store clerks, mail carriers delivery drivers and others are not eligible as part of this second group.

That differs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, which include grocery store workers and mail carriers.

While Iowa's Phase 1B includes people 65 and older, the CDC limits it to individuals 75 and up.

Both state and federal recommendations for the first vaccine phase included health care workers and nursing home residents and employees.

Those individuals would be getting their vaccine with the rest of the general population.

Credit: IDPH/Vaccinate.Iowa.gov
A COVID vaccine timeline for Iowans (vaccinate.iowa.gov)

RELATED: Your questions, answered | What is the latest timeline for Iowans to get the vaccine?

Above is the projected timeline for when more Iowans will receive their coronavirus vaccine. There is no timeframe for when the general public will be eligible. 

According to a spokesperson with the Polk County Health Department, it could be late spring until they move on to Tier 2 in the Phase 1B plan.

IDAC outlined who should be prioritized for Phase 1B by weighing the below factors:

  • Historical COVID-19 disease trends affecting eligible populations
  • Risk of exposure
  • Risk of transmission
  • Access to health care and insurance
  • Workplace environment
  • Congregate settings

IDAC made its final recommendations for Phase 1B in early January 2021, submitting its plan to IDPH interim director Kelly Garcia. Garcia accepted them the following day, adding government workers to the prioritized groups as well as health and safety inspectors.

The CDC says individuals 16-to-64 with underlying medical conditions should be vaccinated in Phase 1C plus other essential workers and delivery truck drivers.

IDAC recommendations simply includes those 64 and younger with medical conditions.

Have a vaccine question for Local 5? Text it to us at 515-457-1026 or email news@weareiowa.com.

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