Iowans under 65 at increased risk from COVID-19 will be eligible for vaccination starting Monday

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A healthcare worker administers a vaccination — photo by Lance McCord via Flickr Creative Commons

Starting Monday, adults under 65 who have a condition the CDC recognizes as putting them at higher risk of developing severe illness due to COVID-19 will become eligible to be vaccinated in Iowa, the Iowa Department of Public Health announced on Thursday evening.

According to the CDC, “Adults of any age with the following conditions are at increased risk of severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19.”

• Cancer

• Chronic kidney disease

• COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

• Down Syndrome

• Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies

• Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant

• Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but less than 40 kg/m2)

• Severe Obesity (BMI higher than or equal to 40 kg/m2)

• Pregnancy

• Sickle cell disease

• Smoking

• Type 2 diabetes mellitus

The CDC has a separate list of medical conditions that might cause a higher risk of developing several illness from COVID-19. Iowans between the ages of 18 and 64 with these conditions will also be eligible for vaccinations starting on Monday.

• Asthma (moderate-to-severe)

• Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)

• Cystic fibrosis

• Hypertension or high blood pressure

• Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines

• Neurologic conditions, such as dementia

• Liver disease

• Overweight (BMI of more than 25 kg/m2, but less than 30 kg/m2)

• Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)

• Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)

• Type 1 diabetes mellitus

The IDPH COVID-19 vaccine information site has a vaccine provider look-up tool. The tool will generate a list of providers with links to their sites. Anyone needing to schedule a vaccination will do so at the provider’s website; the IDPH site cannot schedule appointments, and the department scrapped plans to create a site to do that.

In its statement about the expansion of the vaccination program, IDPH cautioned that because “vaccine production has not fully met the demand for the vaccine, Iowans will need to remain patient as vaccine production increases.”

The department also said that starting on Tuesday, the state’s 211 call center will begin assisting people 65 and older who are having difficulty scheduling a vaccination appointment.

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