COVID-19 Vaccine Tentative Timeline for Polk County

February 12, 2021

We are ONLY vaccinating Phase 1B, tier 1. Tier 1 includes:

  • 65 years and older
  • First Responders
  • PK-12 staff, early childhood education, childcare workers
  • 1A: Healthcare workers and long term care facilities staff and residents


At this time, our hospitals and clinics are NOT able to schedule patients for the COVID-19 vaccination or add names to a waiting list. We are waiting to receive our vaccine for Phase 1B to open up vaccine appointments. Once we receive vaccine, we will be able to create appointments for individuals to be vaccinated.  You will be able to receive your COVID-19 vaccine at your provider healthcare system, pharmacy and local health department.

Phase 1B

 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):

Tier 1

  • First Responders
  • PK-12 staff, early childhood education, childcare workers

Tier 2

  • 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

Tier 3

  • 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

Tier 4

  • Inspectors responsible for health, life and safety

Tier 5

  • Correctional facility staff and individuals incarcerated

Phase 1C will start right after phase 1B.

  • People aged 65—74 years because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. People aged 65—74 years who are also residents of long-term care facilities should be offered vaccination in Phase 1A.
  • People aged 16—64 years with underlying medical conditions which increase the risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19.
  • Other essential workers, such as people who work in transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety, and public health.

The general public will start after Phase 1C. This is likely to occur mid to late 2021.

*Vaccine distribution timeline is dependent upon vaccine supply*

January 4, 2021

We know that our medical and dental communities are eager to be vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. Due to the limited availability of COVID-19 vaccine, opportunities to schedule appointments were sent to the unaffiliated medical practices and clinics in Polk County. Non-affiliated medical practices are those clinics or centers who have not had access to vaccine for healthcare workers through a major health system such as Broadlawns, UnityPoint Health Des Moines or MercyOne. Our focus continues to be on unvaccinated clinical staff who see symptomatic COVID-19 patients.

Healthcare workers in non-affiliated medical practices who are currently eligible for the vaccine in Polk County are defined as:

  • Healthcare personnel (HCP) with direct patient contact and thus who are unable to telework, including those who work in inpatient, outpatient, or community settings, who provide services to patients or patient's family members, or who handle infectious materials.
  • Health care personnel are defined as paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials.

Appointments for dental professionals and other health care workers will become available beginning the week of January 11, 2021.  The number of available appointments will be determined by the supply of COVID-19 vaccine in Polk County. Please monitor the Polk County Health Department website for locations and appointment information.

We thank our dental professionals for your patience and ask for your cooperation when scheduling appointments.


December 28, 2020

Health Department Plans for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution in Polk County

(Des Moines, IA) – The past several weeks have been monumental for our healthcare community. Our COVID-19 frontline healthcare providers are receiving the vaccine after fighting the virus and protecting our community for nine long months. We will continue to do so until every healthcare worker in our hospitals, clinics and long-term care centers are vaccinated.

“Our main priority is to make sure all our healthcare workers who are working directly with the residents in long term care centers and patients in hospitals with COVID-19 are vaccinated first,” said Helen Eddy, Polk County Health Department Director. “This will be a lengthy process as we are the largest county in the state with three major hospitals and over 200 long-term care centers to vaccinate.”

Polk County is currently prioritizing healthcare workers for vaccination based upon their risk, frequency, immediacy and duration of exposure to COVID-19, per the Iowa Department of Public Health Infectious Disease Advisory Committee recommendations. These healthcare workers include: ICU healthcare workers, emergency department healthcare workers, respiratory therapists, long-term care center employees, emergency medical services providers and those working directly with COVID-19 positive patients. We will begin vaccinating other healthcare workers following recommendations set up by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Iowa Department of Public Health. Examples of those healthcare workers include those who work in outpatient and clinic settings. For those who have not yet been vaccinated, please continue to practice COVID-19 prevention strategies.

Please remember that Polk County is the largest county in the state with three major hospitals and over 200 long-term care centers to vaccinate. Other counties in Iowa will move through the phases faster than Polk County simply because they are smaller and may not have a hospital in the target population to vaccinate. As supply of vaccine increases, we will alert the public through our website, social media and local media partners about target groups and vaccination locations.  Vaccination locations will include: your healthcare provider, pharmacies, occupational health and the Polk County Health Department.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our website has been used as the hub to keep Polk County residents up-to-date on the virus and COVID-19 prevention strategies,” said Eddy. “We will continue to utilize our website as the main communication source to inform residents when it is their time to receive the vaccine.”

Please visit our website at for the most current vaccine information.






Infectious Disease Advisory Council

Standard Operating Guidelines for COVID-19 Vaccine

CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Resources

CDC: 8 Things to Know about Vaccine Planning

WHO COVID-19 Vaccine Resources

Vaccine Finder Resources

COVID-19 call center for seniors (65 years and older) WITHOUT computer or internet access, please call 515 323-5221 Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM.