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IVH to receive COVID vaccines on Jan. 12

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Residents and staff of Iowa Veterans Home will begin receiving injections of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 12. Marshalltown had a shipment of the Moderna vaccine last week.

Staff and residents of Iowa Veterans Home will begin to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 12 — in an effort called Operation COVID Freedom.

Commandant Timon Oujiri said IVH has partnered with Walgreens to distribute the vaccinations.

“We have been speaking with residents and staff and told them everyone who gets the vaccine has to sign consent forms,” he said.

People who are unable to receive the vaccine on Jan. 12 will be able to get them in February.

“We are not making the vaccine mandatory, but are highly recommending it,” Oujiri said.

Concerns residents or staff might have are directed toward medical providers. The commandant said he knows all of the senior management staff will receive the vaccinations, along with him.

“I am absolutely taking it,” Oujiri said.

Families of residents are kept up-to-date with all COVID information on the campus. Oujiri said daily emails are sent out, letting them know about the COVID plan and the number of cases.

“Right now, we have four positive staff with COVID,” he said. “There are no residents with COVID. Our COVID unit is closed.”

Marshall County Public Health Nurse Pat Thompson said long-term care residents, such as those at the Iowa Veterans Home, and health care workers are in Tier 1A to receive the vaccines. That means they will get the injections first. People in Tier 1B include essential workers. When the vaccine will be made available to the general public is not yet known.

“Our goal is to get the vaccine to everybody who wants it,” she said. “People have been asking when it’s their turn. They will know when we know. Information will be put out through the newspaper, radio and all forms of media. There is no list as to who gets the vaccine when.”

Thompson said health care workers are first to receive them because of their high risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.

“We need to protect the people who are taking care of people,” she said.

Staff of UnityPoint – Marshalltown, McFarland and Primary Health Care have received vaccinations. Thompson said some of the next health care workers will include dentists and optometrists. She does not know when the next shipment of vaccinations will arrive, but knows it will not be next week.

So far, Thompson has not heard of any side effects from people who have received the vaccinations, and while the spread of COVID-19 has slowed, she is staying cautiously optimistic.

“We need to see if anything arises from people getting together for the holidays,” Thompson said.

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Contact Lana Bradstream at

lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.

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