The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

JoCo Public Health selected for grant program to address vaccine inequities

The county was selected as a demonstration site for a $150,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Carly Schrum
Johnson County Public Health building sign is seen Iowa City on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023.

Johnson County Public Health was selected as a demonstration site to receive $150,000 in funding to address vaccine equity. 

The county’s designation as a demonstration site means its procedures could be implemented on a national level.

The funding comes from the National Association of County and City Health Officials in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The Partnering for Vaccine Equity grant program from the CDC will analyze factors affecting equity in vaccines, specifically in influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations among racial and ethnic minority adults. 

The purpose of the assessment is to develop a better understanding of attitudes toward vaccines and barriers preventing people from receiving them. 

Being selected as a demonstration site means that the results rendered from the county will be shared with the association and the CDC, and if the county is successful, its procedures may be incorporated on a national level. 

RELATED: JoCo reports jump in youth crises, merges mental health services

The program provides funding for county-level agencies to conduct rapid community assessments. Johnson County Public Health partnered with Escucha Mi Voz to perform the assessment. 

A team will go out into the community in the coming months to interview members at random. 

Results of the assessment will allow public health officials to identify which populations are at-risk for low vaccine recipients, understand the community’s needs and decisions, identify areas of intervention, and then develop potential intervention strategies, according to a Sept. 15 press release from the county. 

Karrey Shannon, the coordinator of the program and community health nurse, said analyzing the data from the assessment will help reveal who is most disproportionately affected by missing out on the flu and COVID-19 vaccines. 

After results from the assessment are collected, Johnson County Public Health will develop new strategies to improve vaccine coverage, and the county will produce a communications campaign to increase vaccine education in the community. 

The county will also develop training and support for local health care providers to help them better communicate the importance of vaccines to patients. 

Samuel Jarvis, Johnson County community health division manager, said the program will provide a very holistic approach to community education. 

Johnson County is one of the 19 local health departments selected from across the U.S. for the third round of funding for the program. Pottawatomie and Linn Counties secured funding last year. 

“We know that flu vaccines and COVID vaccines can save people’s lives. We want to make sure that everybody has the same opportunity to have their lives saved by these vaccines and right now, not everybody has the same opportunity,” Shannon said. “We want to figure out how we can spread it to as many people as we can.” 

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About the Contributors
Roxy Ekberg, News Reporter
Roxy Ekberg is a first year at the University of Iowa. In the Honors Program, she is double majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in Spanish. Prior to her role as a news reporter at the Daily Iowan, Ekberg worked at her local newspaper.
Carly Schrum, Photojournalist
Carly is a freshman majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and potentially majoring in sustainability. She works at the Daily Iowan as a photojournalist.