University of Iowa to distribute vaccines for students and staff before semester’s end

University of Iowa students and staff will be eligible for vaccines distributed on campus, according to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. It’s part of a statewide push for college students to be vaccinated before returning home at the end of the semester. More information from the UI is slated to come on Friday.


Jeff Sigmund

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is drawn up on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020.

Brian Grace, Politics Reporter

The University of Iowa will receive an  allocation of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines for distribution among university students and staff in a state effort to vaccinate students before they return home for the summer, Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a press conference Wednesday.

Reynolds said the state is collaborating with Iowa’s Board of Regents-governed universities, private colleges, and community colleges to vaccinate students and staff, but only named the University of Iowa, Dordt College, Northwestern College, and Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) as recipients of next week’s Johnson & Johnson allocation.

Sarah Ekstrand, the Public Information Officer for the Iowa Department of Public Health wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan that the IDPH is working with colleges across the state to plan clinics where students and staff can be vaccinated.

“The four entities that will have clinics next week (via their county public health) had expressed readiness to implement clinics as soon as they had vaccines on hand,” Ekstrand said in the email.

A University of Iowa COVID-19 Campus Update email sent on Wednesday afternoon informed campus that students will be vaccinated through Student Health while employees will be vaccinated through the University Employee Health Clinic.

The university will share additional information on scheduling vaccinations on Friday.

An ongoing DI graph, which was last updated on Wednesday, shows that total self-reported positive COVID-19 cases among University of Iowa students have reached a little over 3,000. The university recorded a massive surge of self-reported positive cases in the beginning of the academic year in Auust with another smaller increase in the middle of the fall semester.

Another graph on the same page shows data for Johnson County, which is pulled from the state government’s coronavirus website, and shows a significant decrease in positive cases since mid-February and the lowest positive percentage rate since August.

President of DMACC Rob Denson said during the conference the college will receive 1,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and offer vaccinations to students and staff on Wednesday, April 7.

He said this vaccine allocation puts DMACC about a month ahead of schedule in terms of offering vaccinations on campus, as the college originally planned to have vaccines ready around the first week of May.

Reynolds also announced that starting on April 5, all Iowans age 16 and up will be eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine and all Iowans age 18 and older will be eligible for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, though she said Iowans will need to be patient as there isn’t enough supply to vaccinate everyone immediately.

“President Biden has said that if we double the number of vaccines currently administered each day, 75 percent of Americans could be vaccinated by May 19,” Reynolds said. “If we stay at our current daily administration rate, we’ll reach 75 percent by July 2.”