More and more Jones Co. residents receive COVID vaccine

Board of Supervisors
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     With a “decent chunk” of Jones County residents aged 65-plus remaining to either receive their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Jones County Public Health (JCPH) will continue to administer to just that population. Beginning on March 8, the State of Iowa added those 64 and under with certain health conditions to those eligible to receive the vaccine.

     “We’ve made really good progress,” JCPH Coordinator Jenna Lovaas said during the March 9 Jones County Supervisor meeting. “I feel relatively good where we’re at with the minimum allocation (from the state).”

     Supervisor John Schlarmann asked Lovaas how much longer they expected to be vaccinating just the 65-plus population.

     “I don’t have a good estimate of how much longer it’ll take,” she said, noting there are still many remaining to vaccinate.

     Supervisor Ned Rohwedder asked whether the VA has helped reduced the numbers in Jones County. Unfortunately, Lovaas said the VA is not recording those vaccinations with the IRIS (Immunization Registry Information System), so there’s no way of knowing which Jones County veterans are vaccinated or not.

     Schlarmann also asked, if we are a third of the way through the calendar year, is Jones County a third of the way through those getting the vaccine.

     Lovaas offered that, yes, 25 percent of the Jones County population (who are eligible) have been vaccinated.

     “There’s a good chunk of people who don’t want it,” Lovaas said.

     She said as the vaccine supply increases, more outlets will be allowed to administer it, allowing more people to have access.

     “More manufacturers are coming into the game, and they helps as well,” noted Community Health Specialist Jess Wiedenhoff.

     Supervisor Jeff Swisher informed the board that he was given a tour of a recent community vaccination clinic, and encouraged the other supervisors to reach out to JCPH for their own tour.

     “I encourage you to watch how the process is done,” Swisher said. “Talk to the volunteers, thank the volunteers.”

     Lovaas was optimistic when it came to the low positivity rate in Jones County: 3.7 percent (3.9 in Iowa).

     “It’s nice and low,” she said.

     The primary care health clinics in Jones County administered 250 boost doses (second doses) of the vaccine to patients last week, along with 150 first doses. Those went to patients 65-plus.

     Lovaas said opening the eligibility up in Jones County and across the state “gets complicated” as many counties have not seen an increase in vaccine allocations.

     As of Friday, March 12, a total of 4,221 Jones County residents had been vaccinated.

     EMA Coordinator Brenda Leonard informed the supervisors that the contracts for the Test Iowa sites set up throughout the state will end on April 16. She said at that time, some test sites will turn into vaccination sites. She was unsure of any additional information.

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