Johnson County continues to meet COVID-19 vaccine demand as public health leaders urge people to get vaccinated

Local leaders are preparing for a potential slowdown in vaccination rates in the coming weeks and months.


Katie Goodale

The Ped Mall is seen on Saturday, April 4, 2020. Downtown was quiet during the first weekend after spring break as classes have been moved online and the bars closed due to coronavirus. (Katie Goodale/The Daily Iowan)

Marco Oceguera, News Reporter

As Johnson County continues to meet demand for the COVID-19 vaccine, local leaders are turning their attention toward combating vaccine hesitancy within the community.

With vaccine supply outpacing demand in other counties across Iowa, some leaders have expressed concerns about an impending slowdown of vaccination rates within Johnson County.

Division Manager of Community Health at Johnson County Public Health, Sam Jarvis, said clinics across Johnson County are continuing to vaccinate people at a high rate, despite the recent pausing of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

He said there has not been a big drop in vaccination interest.

“We’re doing very well – last week we saw our largest [vaccine] allocation, which was roughly north of 6,000 doses,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis added that within a month, leaders could expect to see roughly 62 percent of the population vaccinated. Many counties in Iowa have been meeting demand, Jarvis said, which allows for doses to be reallocated to Johnson County.

Some public spaces will also be re-opening across Johnson County this summer as people continue to get vaccinated.

North Liberty City Administrator Ryan Heiar announced that its public pool is set to reopen on June 12 at 25 percent capacity, which translates to around 125 people. Coralville and Iowa City recreational centers are currently allowing individuals to make reservations for lap swimming.

Community leaders across the county were united in their decision to emphasize outdoor activities throughout the summer. Children’s sports are set to continue this summer.

Mark Nolte, Project Director for Project Better Together, encouraged local leaders to create videos explaining why they got their COVID-19 vaccine and what side effects they experienced.

The videos will be a part of a wider campaign being done in collaboration with Think Iowa City to promote the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.

Nolte said that he hopes this project will increase public confidence related to the vaccine within Johnson County.

Although Jarvis said that the county has yet to see an increase in vaccine hesitancy, leaders and community members should continue to encourage those around them to receive the vaccine.

“Continue to encourage people to get vaccinated,” Jarvis said.