Dallas County poised to receive first wave of vaccinations

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Iowa Department of Human Services Director and Iowa Department of Public Health Interim Director Kelly Kennedy Garcia said Iowa will receive its first allocation of 26,000 doses of vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus the week of Dec. 13.

With Iowa’s first allocations of the vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, set to roll in the week of Dec. 13 and be continually resupplied thereafter, the Dallas County Public Health Department is preparing first to inoculate front-line medical workers and nursing home residents and staff and eventually to administer mass vaccinations at the county fairgrounds.

“We are planning,” Dallas County Public Health Director Suzanne Hegarty told the Dallas County Board of Health at its Nov. 24 meeting. “We’re working with all of our clinics, our long-terms cares, our first responders, our EMS, making sure that those priority populations, they’re thinking, are going to be those front-line staff people first and then moving on to elderly and vulnerable populations next and so making sure that we’re working with those entities to get those folks covered.”

In a Thursday press conference, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Department of Human Services Director and Iowa Department of Public Health Interim Director Kelly Kennedy Garcia outlined the planned deployment of two coronavirus vaccines that have received emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Some 273,000 doses of vaccine — one strain developed by Pfizer and BioNTech and a second by Moderna — will be allocated to Iowa by the end of the year, Reynolds said. Garcia said the first 26,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will arrive in Iowa the week of Dec. 13 and will be injected into the priority populations of “health care professionals and long-term care residents and staff.”

Hegarty said three national pharmacy chains — Walgreens, CVS, Community Pharmacy — will provide “distribution logistics and workforce to administer” the free vaccines at long-term care facilities.

“Every long-term care facility in Dallas County has signed on to that program,” Hegarty said, “so they will have assistance in administration of vaccines to their residents.”

Vaccinations will be ongoing through the summer, according to Garcia.

“We anticipate that by mid-2021, there should be enough vaccine available for anyone who wants to receive it,” she said Thursday.

Hegarty said preliminary planning for vaccinations in Dallas County began in September, including special storage requirements, priority populations, vaccine allocation and mass vaccination clinics.

“A memorandum of understanding is currently in place with the fairgrounds to be a site for a mass vaccination clinic,” she said. More details will be forthcoming as the deployment progresses.

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