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Last week, the House Human Resources Committee passed three bills to increase access to those that can administer the COVID-19 vaccine. House Files 514, 528, and 547 will allow dentists to administer the vaccine that have taken the training, increase administration at pharmacies, and ensure accurate reporting of those that have been vaccinated. Additionally, this week House Study Bill 175 will go before the committee to consider allowing podiatrists to also administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

Recently the state launched updates to Iowa’s coronavirus dashboard to include information on COVID-19 vaccine administration and locations eligible Iowans can receive the vaccine. The vaccine information can be found here. On the dashboard, you can pull up each county and see the vaccine distribution and locations where you can get the vaccine in your area.

Even as demand has far exceeded supply, Iowa continues to vaccinate at record rates. House Republicans support the 5% increase that the state is receiving from the federal government, meaning now 49,900 doses of vaccine are being delivered to Iowa each week. As of Wednesday, 496,981 doses have been administered. This includes 125,558 Iowans that have completed both doses of the vaccine, and 245,865 Iowans that have received their first dose.

Compare the vaccine numbers above to the number of Iowans that have tested positive for COVID over the last 11 months. As of Wednesday, 330,431 individuals have tested positive since the beginning of the public health emergency in Iowa. Intentionally or not, the media report any problems with the vaccine rollout, but fail to point out the successes regarding the vaccine.  It should not be lost on Iowans that there has been significant progress in vaccinating those willing at record pace.

Like other governors who are basing their decisions on actual data, Gov. Reynolds has focused on protecting vulnerable Iowans and maintaining important societal needs throughout the pandemic.  This has continued with the rollout of eligible populations receiving the vaccine. Iowa’s nursing homes have been hit hardest by COVID and within the first 1.5 months of vaccines being available, Iowa’s nursing home residents have already been vaccinated.

With the quick work vaccinating nursing homes and health care workers, Iowa is already expanding eligible populations. Those that are 65 years and older can contact their county public health department and utilize the dashboard to find vaccine providers in their county. Teachers and first responders are also eligible in the current phase. See the below chart to see how Iowa will expand eligible populations as we progress with the prior populations.

Author: Brian Lohse