Marshall County facing COVID vaccine shortage

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO A nurse prepares a COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday. There is a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines for everyone in Iowa.

There is a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines. Marshall County Public Health Nurse Pat Thompson said next week, the county will only receive 300 doses.

The last two weeks, Marshall County received 400 doses in each shipment. Thompson said each county in Iowa is facing a shortage, as are numerous across the nation. She does not think the vaccine shortage will get worse, but it will mean getting doses to everyone might take more time.

Hopefully, most residents who want the Moderna vaccine will be able to get them by the middle of the year, which was the goal time Thompson had in mind when vaccinations began in December. However, she cannot guarantee that will happen.

“It depends on how much vaccine is sent to us,” Thompson said.

When the shipments come in, she makes sure each dose is used. Thompson also signs up to get as much as possible through the Iowa Department of Public Health.

“There is only so many each county is allowed,” she said. “I take every dose offered and direct the shipments to our health care providers, UnityPoint, McFarland, Primary Health Care and Hy-Vee. The vaccines come in lots of 100, so I can’t divide them up.”

Thompson said it is important to remember the Hy-Vee grocery store is not the entity receiving the vaccines, but rather the pharmacy. Also, the recipients of the vaccine shipments cannot give them to whomever they wish.

“I tell them who they can give them to, which is told to me by the board of health,” Thompson said. “I relay the information.”

With the shortage of the vaccine, priorities have to be established, she said. Priorities include vaccinating by age group starting at 100 years and older, 90s, 80s, 70s and 60s. Vaccinating essential workers will be determined by the Marshall County Board of Health.

“Remember vaccine doses are very limited,” Thompson said. “Four hundred and 300 doses aren’t very many for the county.”

The distributors of the vaccine are finishing inoculating health care workers. The plan to begin Phase 1 of the vaccine distribution on Feb. 1 still stands. Phase 1 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.

Some things Thompson is asking Marshall County residents to remember is:

There is no list.

There are no walk-in appointments.

Watch health care websites for updated information. Please trust that the information is correct — when there is a change it will be shown.

Health care providers want people to receive the vaccine. People will know when it’s their turn to get inoculated.

Residents can expect to wait two to three months if vaccine shipments remain low.

Check the newly developed Marshall County Iowa Public Health Department — Board of Health Facebook page for updates.

She is also asking residents to continue taking care of themselves and continue with pandemic protocols:

Get your rest, eat a balanced diet, avoid alcohol and get exercise.

Continue to decrease risk of exposure to the virus.

Cover your cough, stay home if you are sick, wash your hands, wear a facial covering, do only essential activities and avoid congregate gatherings.


Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611 or lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.


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