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County health expects all to be vaccinated by mid-year

contributed photo UnityPoint — Marshalltown employee Cindy Britson receives the first dose of the Moderna vaccine. She will receive the second dose on Jan. 20.

By mid-2021, there should be enough COVID-19 vaccines for everyone in Marshall County who wants to receive it.

The Moderna vaccine was made available Dec. 23 to UnityPoint, McFarland Clinic and Primary Health Care providers who have been administering them to personnel. UnityPoint — Marshalltown Hospital Administrator Shari King said they are halfway through the distribution of the tier one recipients.

“These were frontline health care workers in patient service with the highest risk of exposure,” she said. “The first round of vaccine administering went very well in Marshalltown. Any reports of side effects were minor and expected — we heard about soreness in the area of the injection, a little fatigue, headache and muscle pain.”

The Moderna vaccine requires a 28-day span between the first and second doses, and subsequent doses for all recipients have been scheduled. So, the second round of doses will begin on Jan. 20.

“The distribution tiers are determined by federal, state and public health officials, and UnityPoint Health does not yet have guidance on when the second tier will begin,” King said.

On Jan. 12, residents and staff of Iowa Veterans Home will receive the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine through a partnership with Walgreens.

Ken Lyons, chairman of the Marshall County Board of Health, said vaccinations for residents and staff in long-term care facilities should be completed by the end of January.

“Marshall County will continue to provide updates for other priority populations as we receive additional allocations of vaccine,” he said. “While right now the vaccine is being made available to the priority populations, it is anticipated that by mid-2021, there should be enough vaccine for anyone who wants to receive it.”

The second tier of people to receive the vaccine include those who are older than 75 and essential workers. However, there are not a lot of details as to how categories of those people will be determined.

“We don’t know exactly what groups this will include,” King said. “The timing will depend on the number of available vaccine doses and progress will vary by county due to a variety of factors. The Iowa Department of Public Health is working to determine eligibility, timelines and processes.”

Lyons said he expects vaccines will be given by appointment only.

If health care providers in Marshall County have not been contacted by the public health department regarding COVID-19 vaccinations, call Pat Thompson, Marshall County Public Health nurse, at 641-750-1929.

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Contact Lana Bradstream at lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.

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