Due to the number of positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the country and locally, Linn County has closed most buildings to the public to help reduce community spread of the virus and to help ensure continuity of County services.
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Linn County Public Health held a virtual media briefing on March 5 to provide an update on Linn County COVID-19 vaccination efforts due to the announcement of expanded eligibility criteria by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). Watch the video.
IDPH amended the Phase 1B Vaccine Shortage Order effective March 8 to expand Phase 1B to include individuals 64 years of age and younger that are or might be at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. A list underlying conditions are listed on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Linn County still has thousands of people in Phase 1B that have not yet been able to receive vaccine. Due to the eligibility change for Phase 1B occurring after vaccine allocations for next week were finalized, vaccine allocated by the county to local vaccine providers for next week will remain dedicated to the 65 and older groups and the Phase 1B tier populations. Beginning the week of March 15, vaccine allocated by the county to local vaccine providers will include the expanded eligibility criteria. Weekly vaccine allocations to Linn County through Linn County Public Health are expected to remain stable through the end of March at approximately 3,500 doses per week. Linn County does not expect to receive any additional Johnson and Johnson vaccine until late March.
Vaccine allocated to pharmacies participating in the Retail Pharmacy Program may offer vaccine to all eligible individuals beginning March 8. These appointments will be on a first come, first serve basis to all eligible populations. Retail Pharmacy programs receive vaccine from the federal government. In Linn County, select Hy-Vee locations and Clark’s Pharmacy are participating pharmacies. Hy-Vee also receives state allocated vaccine. Vaccine administered by these providers are directed by state and federal authorities, and not at the county level.
IDPH has updated the Projected Vaccination Timeline, which is available at https://vaccinate.iowa.gov/.
The White House announced this week that by the end of May, there will be enough vaccine for anyone over the age of 16 who chooses to receive one. This is great news that vaccine production is anticipated to fully met the demand for vaccine by May. However, once the vaccine is produced, the distribution and actually getting the vaccine into arms will take time due to the sheer volume of people who will need to be vaccinated.
The COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to be a fluid situation, with frequent changes that require vaccine providers to pivot and adjust. We ask for your patience, as the demand for vaccine continues to exceed supply.
Vaccine remains in short supply, and not everyone in Phase 1B will be able to get vaccine right away. It may take weeks to months for the Phase 1B populations to receive vaccine.
Linn County Public Health continues to receive about 3,500 doses of vaccine per week. Linn County Public Health will continue to ensure an equal balance of vaccine is available in Linn County to persons 65 and older, prioritized frontline workers, and specific populations vulnerable to high risk of exposure or severity of illness. Vaccine is available within Linn County to persons 65 and older through the Retail Pharmacy Program.
Persons 65 years and older
Persons age 16 to 64
For questions about COVID-19 vaccine in Linn County:
Please sign up to receive email notifications for COVID-19 Status Updates to keep up-to-date on vaccine rollout updates and other important information regarding COVID-19 response. For assistance with signing up for updates, view this video. In addition to the Linn County COVID-19 vaccine website LinnCounty.org/Vaccine, updates will also be shared on Facebook and Twitter. For questions on COVID-19 vaccine in Linn County, call 319-892-6097. Stay tuned to local news outlets for updated information.
Linn County Public Health asks everyone to continue to follow prevention measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing hands, staying home if you feel sick, getting tested, and getting a vaccine when you are eligible. It remains important to follow these recommendations until vaccine is readily available for everyone that wants it.
Note: The State of Iowa has transitioned from reporting positive individuals to positive tests. Linn County will continue to report positive individuals. Therefore, numbers from the state and Linn County dashboard will not match.
Additional data on COVID-19 cases is available on Linn County’s case count dashboard.
Additional Linn County metrics are available on Linn County’s metrics dashboard.
For more COVID-19 information specific to Linn County, visit LinnCounty.org/COVID19.