Vaccine rollout proceeds slowly

By Scott Bestul

State receiving only 19,000 weekly doses

The vaccine to fight COVID-19 may be 90% effective, but in terms of rollout, its implementation is severely underperforming. 
That was the message Winneshiek County Public Health Director Krista Vanden Brink delivered to the Board of Supervisors during their Monday, Jan. 18 meeting. 
“The state continues to receive only 19,000 doses of the vaccine each week,” she said. “And for the 750,000-some Iowans sitting in the Phase 1B category well, it’s going to take some waiting.”
Phase 1A of the vaccine rollout, which focuses on health care workers and staff/residents of long-term care facilities, is ongoing and Vanden Brink said many vaccine recipients are waiting for their second shot. “Vaccine availability is not just a Winneshiek county problem,” she said. “It’s a state, national and global problem.”
County Auditor Ben Steines asked if members of the 1B group had been identified. Vanden Brink replied that they had and the categories were: anyone over 75 years old; people with disabilities; workers at correctional institutions; members of law enforcement; fire fighters; social workers; front-line workers in the child-care, food and agriculture industries; government workers at the state capitol. 
“States will have the ability to prioritize within those groups,” Vanden Brink noted. 
In her weekly COVID-19 update, Vanden Brink noted that 62 cases had been reported in the last week, with 54 county residents in the hospital. 
“While the number of cases has gone down, we had a pretty rough week,” Vanden Brink said, “with many of the new cases being reported over the weekend. We are not out of the woods yet.” 

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