JCPH explains local vaccine rollout process

Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     According to Jones County Public Health (JCPH) officials, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine should arrive here the week of Dec. 21.

     “Vaccines will begin as soon as possible after we receive the shipments,” said Public Health Coordinator Jenna Lovaas. “The Christmas holiday is going to complicate things, though.”

     JCPH is working with UnityPoint – Jones Regional Medical Center (JRMC) to administer the vaccine doses, as well as other local partners.

     “We have to be involved in the distribution, as no one in the county can receive the vaccine unless we allocate it to them,” noted Lovaas.

     However, JCPH is not doing the actual injections of the shot due to the fact that there is no one in staff licensed to do so.

     “We are working with our local partners to ensure we can get everyone vaccinated in the priority group who wants the vaccine,” added Lovaas.

     The initial phase for vaccines, Phase 1A, will be offered to healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.

     The priority groups are based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the CDC, and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).

     “The State of Iowa has initiated the Infectious Disease Advisory Council (IDAC) to provide additional clinical guidance for vaccinations and therapeutics for future populations to minimize health inequities based on geography, poverty, and social determinants,” explained Lovaas. “JCPH will follow (their) guidance for all COVID-19 vaccine rollouts.

     “As we know more about the supply available, we will share additional details about when it will be offered to additional groups,” added Lovaas.

     When it comes to specific groups such as EMS, fire, and law enforcements agencies, JCPH is working to contact them directly.

     According to IDPH, Phase 1B consists of “people who play a key role in keeping essential functions of society running and cannot socially distance in the workplace.” That includes such people as: emergency and law enforcement not included in Phase 1A, food packaging and distribution workers, teachers and school staff, childcare providers, adults with high-risk medical conditions, and people 65 years of age and older.

     “It will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic,” urged Lovaas. That entails wearing facemasks, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others.

     “Continuing to follow all of the CDC’s guidelines for how to protect yourself and others, along with the vaccination, will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19,” continued Lovaas.

     When it comes to a change in public health mandates/recommendations, Lovaas said public health experts need to learn and understand more about the protection the vaccine offers when it comes to slowing the spread of the virus.

     “Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision,” she said.


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