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Vaccine quantities should increase in the coming month

ap photo A nurse at a mobile vaccination clinic run by the VA Puget Sound Health Care System holds a tray with a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday in Shelton, Wash.

Marshall County Public Health Nurse Pat Thompson is hoping the number of COVID-19 doses will increase in the weekly shipments sometime in March.

“They said we should receive the same amount we are now until mid-March,” she said. “The talk is it will increase after.”

Since February, Marshall County has received 500 doses each week of the Moderna vaccine. Thompson has moved quickly each week to get them to health care providers – UnityPoint, McFarland and Primary Health Care. She said the county is moving through the tiers in Phase 1B of the vaccination effort, but is still in Tier 1.

Tier 2 should begin soon, Thompson said.

“We are looking ahead at the other tiers,” she said.

Marshall County did receive an unspecified number of Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which were given to JBS. Thompson said the Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only for JBS and will not be distributed elsewhere at this time.

The Iowa Department of Public Health initiated a COVID-19 vaccine effort in January, with groups of people in different tiers. Tier 2 includes manufacturing employees and disable people living in home settings.

Tier 3 will be people living in or working in congregate settings and government officials. Tier 4 includes inspectors of hospitals, long-term care facilities and child care and Tier 5 will be correctional employees and incarcerated people.

As the county moves through the tiers, the effort to vaccinate people according to age groups continues, with priority given to the eldest. Thompson said people older than 80 who wanted the vaccine have received it and the county has started inoculating people in their 70s.

Thompson said she thinks people who have not received the vaccine need a little bit of time and see it work.

“They will see it is safe,” she said. “Many people have had the vaccine and done very well. It is one thing you can do to take care of yourself and other people who do not want the virus.”

Thompson has not heard of any new side effects of COVID-19, but maintains it is an illness no one wants as observations and studies of the virus continues.

“There is still a lot to learn about it,” she said. “Some people have severe side effects and others do well. Getting your shot is the best protection we have right now. I am afraid with this virus, this is the best we can do.”

However, as the vaccination effort continues, Thompson urges Marshall County residents to continue pandemic practices and avoid risky COVID behaviors.

“Avoid congregating, stay home if you are sick, wear your mask, wash your hands,” she said. “We are not out of the woods, but we can see the end of the trail.”

There have been 4,145 series of COVID-19 vaccinations initiated in Marshall County, as the vaccines require two doses. Of those, 2,267 have been completed, or both doses were administered. In Iowa, 740,526 residents have received doses.

Throughout the state, 5,536 people have died from the virus. Marshall County has reported 73 deaths, an increase of one from last week. Marshall County has also had 4,989 of Iowa’s 365,627 positive COVID-19 cases.

Long-term care facilities have 12 active outbreaks. One is In Marshall County — Accura Healthcare of Marshalltown with 13 positive cases.

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

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