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First responders, school staff next on vaccine list

CONTRIBUTED GRAPHIC Plans are being made to proceed with the next phase of COVID-19 inoculations, which are projected to begin Feb. 1 in Marshall County.

Plans for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccination continue to unfold and the Marshall County Public Health Department is working hard to put all of them in place.

Public Health Nurse Pat Thompson said after healthcare workers are inoculated, efforts will begin to vaccinate people in the Phase 1B section on Feb. 1. People in that section include essential workers and anyone who is 65 years of age and older.

“Essential workers who cannot avoid contact with people are going to be the priority,” she said.

Phase 1B is broken into five tiers:

Tier 1 — first responders and education or child care employees

Tier 2 — manufacturing employees and disabled people living in home settings

Tier 3 — people living in or working in congregate settings and government officials

Tier 4 — hospital, long–term care and child care inspectors

Tier 5 — correctional employees and incarcerated people.

“This came from the Department of Public Health,” Thompson said. “It is going to take a lot to get this done, but first we have to pay attention to our first responders — firefighters, police officers, sheriffs — and people who take care of our kids.”

She said the vaccination effort is going to take a long time, and will certainly not be done in a week. Mainly, Thompson said it is because of the rate in which she is receiving vaccine shipments, which arrive once a week.

She has been receiving numerous calls every day from Marshall County residents and businesses who are eager to receive their injections. Many ask for their name to be put on the vaccine list.

“There is no list,” Thompson said. “It does not exist. We are getting direction from the Department of Public Health.”

Since COVID-19 vaccines arrived at the end of December, Thompson said they have given almost 1,000 doses to healthcare workers.

“McFarland, UnityPoint, Primary Health Care, HyVee — they are working hard,” she said. “Everyone can rest assured they will get a vaccine. It will just take time.”

While that time is passing, Thompson urged everyone to continue taking COVID-19 pandemic precautions — wash hands frequently, social distance, wear masks and stay home if ill.

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Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611

or lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.

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