Healthcare workers in Linn County begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids received 975 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Tuesday, Dec. 15. Intensive Care Nurse Claire was among the first to receive the vaccine in Linn County. — photo from Mercy Medical Center’s Facebook page

Two Linn County hospitals received their first allotment of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, Linn County Public Health (LCPH) announced in a news release.

Mercy Medical Center and UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital each received 975 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to distribute to frontline healthcare workers as part of the first phase of vaccine distribution.

“As the first healthcare workers in Linn County receive the initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine, we celebrate this important tool in preventing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, and have additional hope for lessening the burden of disease to our community,” LCPH Community Health Manager Tricia Kitzmann said. “This is an important step to eventually stopping this pandemic.”

Early this morning, Mercy received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine. Per the CDC, frontline healthcare workers…

Posted by Mercy Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Frontline healthcare workers at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics received the Pfizer vaccine on Monday morning. Emergency room RN David Conway was the first person at UIHC to be vaccinated.

Speaking after receiving his vaccination, Conway said, “I’d like the public to know the vaccine is the right choice, and it’s a great way to get ahead of this virus.”

The state is expecting another shipment of the Pfizer vaccine next week, along with the first shipment of the Moderna vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is expected to receive emergency use authorization later this week. Both vaccines require two doses.

Vaccinations at long-term care facilities are also part of the distribution’s first phase. Those will begin the week of Dec. 28, according to Gov. Kim Reynolds.

LCPH reports Linn County has had 15 long-term care facility outbreaks and nearly 500 residents infected with COVID-19. More than 100 long-term care residents who had the virus died.

More than 90 percent of the county’s long-term care facilities have signed up to participate in a partnership program with national pharmacy chains, according to LCPH. The remainder of the county’s long-term care facilities are working with LCPH to ensure their residents will get the vaccine.

Additional allocations of the vaccine will be directed to Linn County from the Iowa Department of Public Health based on priority populations. The second phase of vaccine distribution will most likely include teachers, law enforcement, food packing workers, among other workers, the Gazette reported earlier this month.

The vaccine’s supply is expected to increase next year and eventually be available for anyone who would like to get it.

“Once vaccine is adequately available, residents will be able to receive the vaccine at local pharmacies and some local clinics,” according to LCPH.

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