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Vaccine age lowered to 65 for next phase

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Carroll County residents who are ages 65 and older will be eligible to get vaccinated against the coronavirus starting next month when the state is expected to move to its next vaccination phase.

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the change to the age requirement today. Previous plans reserved the vaccines for people who are at least 75 years old, but new federal guidelines suggested the lower age.

The state's primary focus since vaccines first arrived in December has been healthcare workers and those who live and work at long-term care facilities for older residents. Reynolds said more than 106,000 first doses of the vaccine have been used to inoculate heathcare workers, and the vast majority of them in Carroll County have been vaccinated.

The next phase will focus on essential frontline workers, such as police officers and teachers, and those who are at least 65 years old.

The state receives about 19,000 vaccine doses each week, and Reynolds expects that number to increase by up to 10,000 per week leading into March.

Those in the older age group can call county public health at (712) 794-5279 when the next phase starts in February to learn how they can get a vaccine.

Carroll County has had a total of 2,564 confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, and 34 people have died after being infected, according to state data.

The county's current rate of infection is at its lowest point since late September and is about one-fifth the rate of mid November, when it peaked. There were fewer than 50 confirmed cases in the county in the past week.

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