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Black Hawk County distributing vaccines beyond just hospital settings

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BLACK HAWK COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) -- Black Hawk County Public Health recieved and allocated 1,300 primary doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday.

In total, the county's public health director, Dr. Nafissa Cisse Egbuonye, says they've received 4,350 initial doses of the vaccine, all of which have been allocated.

"So these 1,300 doses that we received yesterday, we've allocated to different groups, such as pharmacies, home health, what we consider COVID-19 vaccinators of the central service population," Dr. Egbuonye said. She added that they've allocated enough to begin to vaccinate EMS in Black Hawk County.

However, these allocations do not necessarily say we're closer to the vaccine being readily available to the general public.

Egbuonye says the following are all part of the initial phase of vaccinations recommended by the CDC:

  • Frontline hospital workers
  • Hospice
  • Home health
  • EMS
  • Pharmacies

"We are still in need of additional vaccines to continue to cover Phase 1A. So we're not near as close to Phase 1B. The recommendations also for Phase 1B, which are going to be mostly essential workers, those are still being discussed at the state level," Egbuonye said, who is part of Iowa Infection Disease Advisory Council.

Iowa is following the guidance from the CDC. Egbuonye hopes that further guidance regarding the next phase will be widely available soon.

She adds that a challenge is still availability of the vaccine and that further guidance may come before more vaccines do. The pace at which vaccine distribution has been occurring nationwide has been slower than anticipated.

The state's vaccination rate, compared to its neighboring states, is improving though, according to CDC data from Wednesday morning. However, that same data shows Iowa behind all but 5 other states in distribution rates per 100,000.

Meanwhile, healthcare providers are preparing to get the booster for the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Russell Adams, the Chief Medical Officer for Allen Hospital, was one of the first to get the COVID vaccine in the county.

"We're going to start giving the booster dose on Thursday," Dr. Adams said. "We received 975 doses of the Pfizer for that purpose."

Adams reports that he had some minor soreness at the injection site for his vaccine but that he feels fine. He hopes that healthcare workers can lead by example.

"I think the biggest thing is that when we do have that vaccine for the community, the goal will be to give them the reassurance that it is safe and that is going to be effective and is our best way to move forward and get through this pandemic," Adams said.

While hospitalizations did increase in region Wednesday, Dr. Adams said less than 10% of patients at Allen on Tuesday afternoon were COVID patients. He said there 11 in total then.

More information regarding the COVID cases for Black Hawk County can be found here.

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Taylor Vessel

Multimedia Reporter

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