Cherokee County COVID-19 Vaccine Update
Following the Emergency Use Authorization of both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is partnering with county public health departments to begin vaccinating Iowans. Both vaccines are currently being administered in Iowa to the Phase 1A priority populations of health care personnel and long-term care residents and staff.
As more vaccines become available, Iowa’s Infectious Disease Advisory Council (IDAC), will review guidance issued by the CDC’s advisory group the Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to further prioritize populations to receive the vaccine in Iowa. IDAC is currently reviewing ACIP recommendations for Phase 1B and 1C priority populations.
“Cherokee County Public health has been working with facilities in our county to allocate vaccine doses to the Phase 1A priority populations. Cherokee County Public Health will continue to provide updates for other priority populations as we receive additional allocations of vaccine. While right now, the vaccine is being made available to the priority populations, it is anticipated that by mid-2021, there should be enough vaccine for anyone who wants to receive it,” said Cherokee County Public Health Supervisor, Judy Stowater, RN.
Kent Lundquist, VP of Development and Support Services/ Public Relations at Cherokee Regional Medical Center reiterated Stowater’s comments, “Cherokee Regional Medical Center (CRMC) and Cherokee County Public Health will continue to work together to release information about the availability of COVID-19 vaccines and the associated vaccination processes to the public as it becomes available to us. Hopefully within the next week or two we will learn more from the IDPH regarding a timeline for the next allocation of vaccinations for Phase 1B.”
According to Stowater, even if more information is released in the next week or two regarding Phase 1B, which includes frontline essential workers (non-healthcare workers) and persons age 75 and older, it could be several more weeks before the next round of vaccine doses are available to administer. “We don’t have a firm timeline at this point, but realistically we could be looking at a February distribution of Phase 1B vaccines based on the information we received from IDPH earlier this week.”
Lundquist encourages everyone to continue to monitor various media sources for updates including local newspapers, KCHE radio, CRMC’s Facebook page, the CRMC website- www.cherokeermc.org, and various other sources such as church bulletins, local cable access channels, fliers, etc. “Cherokee County Public Health did a great job coordinating the disbursement of and administering their first allotment of Phase 1A vaccine doses,” said Lundquist. “I know they will be ready for Phase 1B and will communicate appropriately once a timeline for those vaccines becomes available.”
According to the IDPH, until vaccine is widely available to all, it is critical that Iowans continue to practice the mitigation measures that can slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. These include:
- Wearing 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
“We want to remind everyone to continue wearing masks, social distance when possible, and practice good hand hygiene,” said Stowater. “We are starting to see some instances of COVID- 19 reinfections in some people within the county so you can get COVID more than once. It is also important to remember that even if you have been vaccinated, until you receive your 2nd dose and have allowed enough time for your immunity to develop, you could still be susceptible to coming down with COVID.”