The Iowa Department of Public Health added a new page containing vaccine information to its COVID-19 information site on Friday night, just before almost 20 percent of Iowa’s population became eligible for the vaccine on Monday.
Starting Feb. 1, approximately 530,000 Iowans who are 65 and older, as well as 130,000 people in Tier 1 of Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination plan, become eligible to receive vaccine doses. Tier 1 covers first responders, child welfare workers, PreK-12 school teachers and staff, early childhood education staff or other childcare workers.
Vaccine supply is still very limited in Iowa — according to Gov. Reynolds, Iowa ranks 46th among states when it comes to vaccine allotments — and the vaccination process for individuals is being determined county by county. But the new vaccine information page does list current vaccine providers.
At the bottom of the page, hovering a cursor over a county pulls up the number of vaccine providers in the county, and clicking on the county replaces the map with list of those providers.
The list features the providers name, address, phone number and, in most cases, a link to the provider’s website. All the information has been supplied by the providers, according the IDPH site.
For Johnson County, there are 35 provider sites listed and there are 49 sites listed for Linn County.
“It is important to call or visit the website of a provider to ensure they are administering vaccines at this time, and to schedule a vaccine appointment,” according to the site.
In an update on COVID-19 vaccinations in Johnson County last week, the Johnson County Public Health Department said that for county residents 65 and older, “UIHC and Mercy Iowa City will proactively reach out to a very limited amount of people who are eligible patients. There are no walk-ins available.”
JCPH asked that senior citizens wanting to schedule a vaccination not “to contact these hospitals, other health care providers, pharmacies or JCPH to ask for the vaccine. A high volume of calls makes it more difficult to address patients and others with immediate needs.”
Those eligible for vaccination as part of Tier 1 should “closely monitor communication from your employer and JCPH,” according to the department’s statement. JCPH said people in Tier 1 “will be directed to specific COVID-19 vaccine provider pharmacies,” and the department is “currently contacting and assisting leadership in prioritizing staff” at organizations covered by Tier 1.
In addition to the lists of providers, the new vaccine information page at coronavirus.iowa.gov also includes information on how many people in the state have been vaccinated. This includes demographic breakdowns on vaccine recipients by age, sex, race and ethnicity.
The information regarding race and ethnicity appears to be of very limited use at the moment. The site lists “Unknown” for the race of more than one-fifth of vaccine recipients, and the same for the ethnicities of more than a quarter of recipients.
The new vaccination page can be found through a link at the top of the first set of navigation links on the COVID-19 information page.