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PUBLIC HEALTH

County awaits new supply of vaccine

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County health officials are awaiting new supplies of coronavirus vaccines after exhausting their initial 800 doses, which largely were used in the past two weeks to inoculate healthcare workers at the county’s two hospitals and the McFarland Clinic in Carroll.

“We are hoping for weekly shipments soon,” said Nicole Schwering, the county’s public health director.

A total of about 60,000 Iowans had been vaccinated as of early this week.

Schwering said the county was likely to get word this week about future shipments.

Also included in the first wave of people eligible for the vaccines are residents and staff at long-term care facilities for older Iowans, three of which had recent ongoing outbreaks in Carroll.

The details of those vaccinations are not clear because they are being administered locally by Walgreens, which has declined to reveal the status of its vaccination program that began nationwide on Dec. 21.

“We’re not able to provide location-specific information or numbers at this time,” Walgreens told the Times Herald through a corporate spokesperson. “We will continue to expand vaccinations to nearly 3 million residents and staff at 35,000 long-term care facilities that have selected Walgreens as their vaccine provider as states finalize their distribution plans and receive vaccine allocations.”

According to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the next groups of people eligible for the vaccine include:

— “Frontline essential workers,” which include firefighters, police officers, jailers, food and agricultural workers, U.S. Postal Service employees, manufacturing workers, grocery store employees, public transit workers, educators and daycare workers.

— People who are 75 years or older.

After those group, the next priority goes to:

— People ages 65 to 74.

— People ages 16 to 64 who have existing medical conditions that makes them susceptible to severe symptoms if they are infected by the coronavirus.

— “Other essential workers” in fields such as transportation, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety and public health.

The timeline for vaccines for those subsequent priority groups is unclear.

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