Iowans with preexisting conditions to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

Iowans age 64 and younger with preexisting medical conditions will now be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 8.


Shivansh Ahuja

Syringes for the COVID-19 vaccine lay on a counter at the VA Medical Center in Iowa City on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. The center received the Moderna vaccine for its employees.

Rachel Schilke, News Editor

Iowans with preexisting health conditions will be eligible for the vaccine effective March 8.

According to a press release from the Iowa Department of Public Health sent on Thursday, individuals 64 years old and younger with medical conditions that may cause increased risk for COVID-19 will be eligible for the vaccine on Monday.

The release said this announcement comes as Iowa counties have reported that they are nearing completion for vaccinating previous priority groups.

Iowa is currently in phase 1B of its vaccine distribution. Phase 1B priority populations include people aged 65 and older and people aged 24 to 64 that are at an increased risk for COVID-19. K-12 teachers and first responders are included in this phase as well.

As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, although vaccine appointments opened up for phase 1B on Feb. 1, public health officials warned it could take weeks or months to vaccinate the entire group.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continuously update the list of pre-existing conditions. Individuals with cancer, chronic kidney disease, Down Syndrome, heart conditions, obesity, pregnancy, and other conditions may be at an increased risk for COVID-19.

Starting March 9, the 211 Call Center – an organization that helps elderly and disabled people with social services – will be able to assist Iowans age 65 and older who need assistance scheduling a vaccine appointment and do not have the technology to do so, the release said.

The department said in the release that it is necessary for Iowans to continue to be patient as vaccine production increases. The White House announced this week that by May, there will be enough vaccines for everyone over the age of 16 to receive one.