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Demand still exceeds vaccine supply

contributed photo Several Marshall County residents have received a COVID-19 vaccine since the effort began. However, several more are still waiting as supply is lacking.

As of Thursday, UnityPoint — Marshalltown had initiated COVID-19 vaccines to 714 patients, and 183 of those have received second doses.

Administrator Shari King said approximately 80 percent of patients contacted about the vaccine come in to get inoculated, and that is a percentage she is proud about. She said 85 percent of the staff have also chosen to get vaccinated.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health COVID-19 information website, there have been 5,925 vaccines administered in Marshall County:

• 4,723 residents have received the first dose of a two-dose series

• 4,716 residents have completed the two-dose series

• 1,202 residents have received the single dose vaccine.

However, the biggest challenge to the COVID-19 vaccination effort is supply.

“Like everyone else in the community, we’re eager to get vaccines in as many people’s arms as soon as possible,” King said. “Unfortunately, the number of vaccine doses UnityPoint Health receives is out of our control, but we know that our state and local public health leaders are working hard to keep us up-to-date on this moving target.”

Marshall County Public Health Nurse Pat Thompson said the number of doses received each week remains at 500. Federal and state officials have spoken for weeks about increasing the size of the shipments. However, Thompson does not know for sure when that will happen or how much more will be received.

“It may be next week,” Thompson said.

With the help of UnityPoint, McFarland and Primary Health Care, Thompson said the county is now vaccinating residents age 65 and younger. The county is still wrapping up dosing educators, and needs to complete that section of the COVID-19 vaccination tier system before moving on to manufacturing employees.

In an effort to give educators time to recover from second doses administered this weekend, Marshalltown Community School District will have remote learning on Monday.

Technically, people would be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, King said.

Waiting is the name of the game when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine effort – whether it is waiting for full immunity from the doses or waiting to get the first shot.

With Gov. Kim Reynolds opening vaccines to everyone on April 5, Thompson is expecting more people to inquire about when they can get dosed. She suggested people start looking at websites of medical providers to find up-to-date vaccination information, rather than just waiting for a text or phone call to be received.

“As soon as we get the vaccines, we get them out as soon as possible,” Thompson said. “This is when people will have to be patient and wait.”

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

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