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

December 28, 2020

(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.



If you think you need to get tested for COVID-19 or have been exposed, call your clinic FIRST. DO NOT go to the ER or clinic. You could potentially expose others to COVID-19 or be exposed to COVID-19.