Covid-19 Vaccination Administration In Hancock County

HANCOCK COUNTY – HCHS Community Health (Public Health) wants to answer your questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Plans in Hancock County. The most recent changes are highlighted below. 

•Has Hancock County begun administering the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, we began the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine in late-December. HCHS continues to work closely with the CDC and state health departments charged with vaccine distribution in our state. The vaccine allotted to each county will be distributed to the community in phases outlined by the CDC and Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).

Currently we are in Phase 1A, per the Iowa Department of Public Health. Phase 1A includes health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. *Long-term care and assisted living facility residents and staff are being vaccinated through a federal program with CVS and Walgreen pharmacies.

•Who is included in the next phases?

The audiences in each phase have been created by the CDC. Each state, however, can elect to change the audiences included in each phase. Federally, Phase 1B has been approved for 65+ years.  However, due to the shortage of vaccine and limited availability to each state, IDPH has approved our next phase to be given to 75+ years. According to the IDPH, the phases include the following:

Phase 1B:Due to the current and short-term projections for vaccine allocation for Iowa, IDAC recommends the following, more narrowly defined eligible populations for this phase: People ≥75 years; populations vulnerable to high-risk of exposure or severity of illness including people living in congregate settings (not including college students); food, agricultural, distribution and manufacturing workers in high-risk settings; and those who work in the pre-K to 12 education sector (teachers, and support staff), as well as childcare workers. *Other priority populations included in 1B by the CDC will be addressed by IDPH when more vaccine becomes available.

Phase 1C:People aged 65–74 years, people aged 16–64 years with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers. 

Phase 2: Public distribution with consideration for people in other high-risk categories. 

•When will you begin Phases 1B, 1C and 2? 

The CDC has authorized states to progress to Phase 1B, but the IDPH has not. 

Hancock County Community Health will be notified by the IDPH when the vaccination is available to us so we are able to progress to the next phasing level of administration. IDPH stated that Phase 1B could possibly begin in February in Iowa with other phases to follow at a date determined by IDPH.

•Can I schedule an appointment if meet the criteria for 1B? 

YES! If you meet any of the criteria for 1B AND we recommend that you are a resident of Hancock County, call HCHS Community Health (Public Health) at 641-923-3676 to be included on a wait list. Appointments will be scheduled for the 1B group once we have the vaccine available to us. If you are put on the waiting list, you will be notified of your appointment time at a later date. We expect to begin vaccinations for group 1B sometime in February. 

•When is the general public going to be able to get vaccinated?

The CDC and IDPH is stating that they expect the vaccine to be widely available in mid-2021. No public COVID-19 vaccination clinics, or wait list for vaccination clinics, will be set up in Hancock County until vaccine is made available to us. 

When each new phase occurs, HCHS Community Health will plan new opportunities to do outreach to the appropriate audiences. We are planning for upcoming phases so we can begin vaccination clinics efficiently when the vaccine is made available and approved by the IDPH to move to the next phase. 

•Does Hancock County have extra doses of the vaccine that will expire or have to be wasted before they can be used?

NO. We are ensuring our vaccination clinics are set up to schedule people in appropriate group sizes to make sure we are not wasting any vaccine. 

We have administered the vaccine that we have been provided. Please keep in mind, the amount of doses that have been sent to Hancock County includes the doses that were given to CVS and Walgreens for administration at long-term care and assisted living facilities. This distribution has been slower, according to Governor Kim Reynolds in a news conference held in January.  

•Why do you have to follow the guidelines set by the CDC and the Iowa Department of Public Health?

Since the Emergency Use Authorization of both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were approved, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has partnered with county public health departments to begin vaccinating Iowans and we need to follow the “shortage order” of the IDPH. 

The Federal Government controls the supply to the state and IDPH controls the supply distribution to the counties in Iowa. 

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