Expanded vaccine eligibility for all adult Iowans still on track for April 5

By: - March 31, 2021 3:27 pm

The White House announced preparations Oct. 20, 2020, for approval of vaccination of children age 5-11 against COVID-19. (Photo by Parker Michels-Boyce/ Virginia Mercury)

Iowa is moving ahead with plans to expand COVID-19 vaccine availability to all Iowans age 16 or older beginning April 5.

Currently, Iowans 65 or older are eligible for the vaccine, as are Iowans age to 16 to 64 who have health conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma or obesity. Some Iowa counties have already expanded eligibility to include all Iowans 16 or older, but on April 5 that expansion is expected to be statewide.

At her weekly press conference, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday that Iowa’s vaccine supply will increase significantly next week, as was hoped. The state expects to receive 161,000 initial doses, including 45,800 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that requires only one shot.

“While demand increases over the next few weeks, getting an appointment may be challenging in some areas,” Reynolds said.

The governor said state officials are monitoring recent increases in positive testing and new cases of the virus, adding that “we’ve not seen evidence to suggest it’s leading down a concerning path.”

Iowa now has one of the highest test positivity rates in the nation. The Washington Post has reported that Iowa’s new cases are up 33.7%, and the New York Times has reported Iowa has 22% more new cases than it did two weeks ago. 

According to the Post’s database, Iowa ranked 22nd among the states in the highest seven-day rolling average of COVID cases per capita. Iowa’s 34% jump in cases was far higher than the national increase of 9%.

Reynolds said  “a small allocation” of vaccines will be provided next week to select Iowa colleges and universities for student vaccinations. That will be followed by larger allocations of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for students.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.

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