In response to a national push to further expand the COVID-19 vaccine to older adults, Iowa is now including people 65 and older in the Phase 1B round of vaccinations set to begin Feb. 1, the Iowa Department of Health announced today. Previously, the age limit was 75 and older.
The vaccine is in short supply, so not everyone in Phase 1B will be able to get it right away, the IDPH said. It is using a tiered prioritization plan to help balance vaccine supply with Phase 1B demands.
Last week, the Infectious Disease Advisory Council (IDAC) made recommendations, and the IDPH issued a vaccine shortage order, which included prioritizing Iowans of a certain age and those who are vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19 or high-risk for illness as the result of a COVID-19 infection.
Public health officials in Clinton and Jackson counties said they are ready to begin Phase 1B as soon as they receive the vaccine allocation. They will be sharing information through the newspaper, their websites and Facebook pages, local pharmacies and providers when they receive the vaccine to start the clinics. Health officials ask that the public watch for the information from these sources and do not call public health, adding that they appreciate everyone’s patience.
Phase 1B Priority Populations
Persons aged 65 years and over. OR, the following populations vulnerable to high risk of exposure or severity of illness (listed in order of priority):
• First Responders
• PK-12 staff, early childhood education, childcare workers
• Frontline essential workers in food, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors who live or work in non-social distanced settings
• Individuals with disabilities living in home settings and their direct care staff
• Staff and individuals living in congregate settings not covered by previous Phase or Tier
• Government officials, including staff, engaged in business at the State Capitol
• Inspectors responsible for health, life and safety
• Correctional facility staff and individuals incarcerated
Iowa is currently vaccinating individuals in Phase 1A, which includes health care personnel and residents and staff of long-term care facilities. As Phase 1A is moving closer to completion, it is time to focus attention on Phase 1B.
IDPH continues to urge Iowans that while the vaccine is still a scarce resource, to practice virus mitigation efforts.
• Wear a mask or face covering
• Practice social distancing with those outside your household
• Clean your hands frequently with soap and water
• Stay home if you feel sick