Clay County Public Health to Receive Limited COVID-19 Vaccine Doses; Plans Shared

posted on Thursday, January 28, 2021 in COVID-19

Clay County Public Health will have a very limited supply of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine available the first week of February to start the process of vaccinating people who qualify under the State of Iowa’s vaccination shortage order for Phase 1B, Tier 1, which are people age 65 and older along with first responders, PK-12 school personnel and childcare workers.

“We anticipate having approximately 150 doses of vaccine available next week to begin the process of immunizing those eligible who are at greatest risk for complications if they would be exposed to COVID-19,” explained Colette Rossiter, Clay County Public Health Coordinator. “We will receive 100 doses sometime next week and will use the remaining vaccine which was recently allocated to immunize people in Phase 1A priority group.”

The Phase IA priority group includes healthcare workers and nursing home residents as directed by the State of Iowa vaccination order.  Vaccination priority group eligibility and when vaccine can be initiated for a priority group is determined by the State.

Due to the limited vaccine supply, Clay County Public Health officials are working with local healthcare professionals to identify patients age 65 or older who are most vulnerable for severe illness. Those patients will be contacted directly to schedule immunization appointments. Due to the extremely limited supply at this time, phone requests for appointments will not be taken. Once vaccine supply increases sufficiently, a call center will be established for appointments.

“We will use every dose of vaccine that we have next week,” Rossiter said. “We will use approximately 50 percent of our allocation for medically vulnerable patients  who are age 65 and older. We’ll use the other portion of the allocation to start vaccinating first responders and the highest at-risk local schools’ staff members.

“It’s anticipated the vaccine allocation throughout most of February will be limited, which means it may take weeks to vaccinate people who are eligible in Tier 1, and those 65 and older who have severe health conditions. People age 65 and older will be vaccinated throughout all of the five tiers established by the State as part of the Phase 1B priority group,” Rossiter explained.

“Clay County has approximately 3,400 residents who are age 65 and older, so it will take a while to vaccinate those who wish to be immunized and protected,” she added.  

Rossiter shared that local healthcare officials have plans in place to scale clinics to accommodate the amount of vaccine allocated locally. “We can host small clinics, such as the ones we’ve had throughout January, or, we can have a large, mass vaccination clinics, which would be a collaborative effort with the Clay County Fair, Clay County and City of Spencer.

As local health officials receive additional information regarding future vaccine allocations, updates will be available on Spencer Hospital’s website and Facebook page, and shared with local media.

“Accessing the hospital website is the most convenient way to remain updated about vaccination clinic plans and related information,” said Rossiter.