First shipment of COVID vaccine to arrive this week

By: 
Rebecca Peter

 GARNER – The first shipment of the Moderna vaccine for the COVID-19 virus will arrive this week.

“The Iowa Department of Public Health has made plans for a secure delivery to our site,” said Chelcee Schleuger, Hancock County Public Health Director. “Like all Iowa health systems, we are working closely with the CDC and state health departments charged with vaccine distribution in our state. The vaccine allotted to each county must be distributed to the community in phases outlined by the CDC. The first phase, Phase 1-A, includes health care workers and patients and staff of long term care facilities.”

Schleuger said officials will be notified by the Iowa Department of Public Health when vaccinations can progress to the next phasing level.

“We anticipate COVID-19 vaccines may be more widely available by spring or summer 2021,” she said.

The Food and Drug Administration issued the emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech on December 11. The FDA gave emergency use approval to the Moderna vaccine on December 18.

“I would say many, many people at HCHS are very excited to be receiving the vaccine in our county. I know I am,” Schleuger said. “However, I would still urge everyone to continue to follow current safety measures. It is crucial we all remain vigilant with avoiding crowds, practicing physical distancing, mask wearing and hand hygiene.”

She emphasized the necessity upholding personal safe living and decision-making responsibilities until the vaccine is more broadly available. 

“People who are vaccinated must also stay committed to CDC safety guidelines until there is widespread vaccination,” she said.

Schleuger noted while Hancock County Community Health has contingency plans for disaster – including pandemics – “you hope you never have to use them in real life.”

“Just 18 months ago, I don't think anyone would have imagined a world-wide pandemic occurring. Let's hope and pray this will not happen again. But, this is a lesson to always be prepared.”

 

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