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UnityPoint vaccinates more than 200 people

To date, there have been 151 UnityPoint patients in Marshalltown vaccinated for COVID-19, and 50 in State Center.

UnityPoint – Marshalltown has made it a top priority to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, said Sean Hylton, UnityPoint’s marketing communications specialist.

“As experienced around the country, there are limited supplies of vaccine available so far, yet we’re pleased to have administered all our allocated vaccines within a couple days of receiving the doses,” Hylton said.

UnityPoint is working closely with Marshall County Public Health Nurse Pat Thompson, as vaccine distribution and allocation is determined by county, state and federal health departments.

The amount of vaccine doses received by the county has not increased, as it remains at 500 for this week. While that is more than the initial 300 doses received each week, Thompson said those 500 doses go quickly.

She is not sure if there will be a point where people will be able to go to a pharmacy and just request a dose, such as what can be done with the influenza vaccine.

“The COVID-19 vaccine needs to be handled carefully and needs to be used within six hours,” Thompson said. “That is why people are registering and making appointments. There are 10 doses in each vial and we are not wasting any of them.”

She wanted to assure people they will know when it is their turn. Hylton said UnityPoint is notifying patients who are 65 years of age or older by either phone call or text.

“It should be noted that we are not compiling a waiting list,” Hylton said. “For those who identify as an eligible individual based off their place of employment or occupation, we encourage them to closely monitor communication from Marshall County Public Health. As we’ve done throughout this pandemic, we’ll continue to partner with the local public health officials on the best strategies to vaccinate and broadly communicate to these groups of individuals. We expect COVID-19 vaccines to be widely available to the general public later in 2021.”

Thompson continues to get frequent inquiries about the vaccine, and she is not alone. UnityPoint is also being asked a lot of questions.

“I think most people have understood the process outlined by public health, and we appreciate their patience,” Hylton said. “We continue to update information on our UnityPoint Health — Marshalltown website and Facebook page, while also encouraging residents to watch for all possible information from Marshall County Public Health and its Facebook account.”

Thompson said within Marshall County, the effort to innoculate health care providers and first responders is done. Now they are moving through the essential workers.

“The next group will be educators,” Thompson said.

Even after a vaccine is received, she said it will still be important to wash hands frequently, wear masks and cover coughs.

“We still need to protect everyone,” Thompson said.

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Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611 or

lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.

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