Iowa residents aged 65 and older could begin receiving their first COVID-19 vaccine doses as early as Feb. 1, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said during a Thursday press conference.
“We’ve been assured by the providers that first doses will be completed statewide by the end of the month, and we continue to monitor that daily,” Reynolds said. “With the 1A vaccination phase well underway, we believe it’s time to move into 1B and make the vaccine available to more Iowans.”
In addition to Iowans 65 and older, priority groups including law enforcement, first responders, Pre-K through high school teachers and staff, early childhood educators and child-care workers will be eligible to receive vaccines at local pharmacies and clinics in early February.
Reynolds said every resident working in long term care facilities should receive the first dose of the vaccine by the end of January, closing out phase 1A of the vaccine rollout. She said once phase 1B is completed, the state will have vaccinated approximately half of Iowa’s eligible population.
She said the state is currently receiving 19,500 doses per week but is expecting Iowa’s vaccine allocation to increase within the first week of February and each week following as they begin vaccinating more Iowans.
“The Trump administration did project that our weekly statewide allocation would increase to 39,000 doses by the week of Feb. 8 and could continue to increase by another 10,000 doses each consecutive week through March 1,” Reynolds said. “That could now change as plans are introduced by the Biden administration and we are working with the administration to see what that looks like and how we can plan accordingly.”
The state is also partnering with HyVee to supplement pharmacies and healthcare providers in their effort to deliver vaccines to eligible Iowans, especially those who live in rural locations.
“Our vaccination distribution capabilities fit many formats and needs,” HyVee Executive Vice President of Business Innovation and Chief Health Officer Aaron Wiese said at the press conference. “We have nine HyVee Healthy You mobile units that can go on-site to vaccinate nearly anywhere to provide convenience to patients in group settings…as vaccine availability increases, we plan to deploy these mobile clinics to other sites in our communities as well, such as church parking lots and community centers.”