Polk County Health Department Provides Update on Current COVID-19 Vaccine Phases and Tiers
March 5, 2021
(Des Moines, IA) – Yesterday, Thursday, March 4, 2021, Iowa Department of Public Health announced that Iowa vaccine providers can begin vaccinating individuals 64 years of age and younger with medical conditions that are or may be at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The Governor also noted that some counties may not be able to move to this next group as quickly as others. As Polk County’s vaccine supply that is allocated by the state remains limited, Polk County will not be opening up additional eligibility until substantial progress is made on the current groups. If the supply of vaccine from the state increases, we will open to additional groups faster.
In Polk County, our priority is to complete second doses for our individuals in the following tiers:
- 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
Our COVID-19 vaccine team is in constant review of the data on Polk County’s vaccine progress. Our goal is to get to at least 70% of the current tier vaccinated before moving on to the second tier. As of today, 44,281 (66.4% of estimated census population) seniors have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Our team is also aware of many first responders, healthcare workers and PK-12 staff, early childhood and childcare who still have not received their first dose or completed the series. We will move on to the next tier and individuals 64 years and younger with medical conditions when at least 70% of the previously listed tier has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and we will evaluate our progress weekly.
Seniors who need help finding a vaccination should call (515) 323-5221. First responders, PK-12 staff, early childhood education, childcare workers, healthcare workers and long term care staff and residents should continue to monitor vaccine availability at Vaccinate Iowa website.
Polk County Board of Supervisors Chair Angela Connolly said, “Our primary goal is to get as many people vaccinated in our community as possible but we also recognize the stress and frustration that people experience when the competition is high for a limited supply. The last thing that we want to do is make it even more difficult for the current tier to access the vaccine.”
Polk County Health Department Director Helen Eddy added, “We understand the importance of vaccinating individuals with chronic health conditions and are eager to do so, but we also understand the reality that there is not enough vaccine to reach everyone in this group at this time. Because of this, we want to continue to work through our current tier in an orderly manner and open up to new groups at a pace that matches our vaccine supply. In other words, when we open up eligibility to new groups, we want to be confident that they will be able to access a vaccine in a timely and efficient manner.”
If we receive additional vaccine from the state, we will be able to move through the tiers faster. We continue to ask the public to please be patient. We are grateful that our community is eager to receive vaccines, and we are excited to administer the vaccinations as we receive them. However, at this time, demand for the COVID-19 vaccine far exceeds supply. Our hospitals, clinics and pharmacies are balancing ever changing allocations.