01282021_Press Release_COVID-19 Vaccine Update Press Conference

January 28, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2021

Contact: Black Hawk County Health Department
Phone: 319-291-2413
publichealth@co.black-hawk.ia.us

COVID-19 Vaccine Update Press Conference

Over the past several weeks, we have seen the number of COVID-19 cases in Black Hawk County decrease from a previous surge in November, and remain relatively stable after the winter holidays.Thank you for all that you are doing to fight the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We all know the past 10 months have been difficult, but with the release and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine we now are able to slow and eventually stop the spread of COVID-19. Since the approval of two vaccines in December, the Black Hawk County Health Department has worked with our local health care partners to reach those health care providers in Phase 1A, while the national pharmacy partnership has worked to vaccinate long-term care facility staff and residents. To date, 10,721 vaccines have been administered in Black Hawk County. We are now nearing the end of Phase 1A and continue to work with our health care partners on planning for Phase 1B. During the Phase 1B vaccination effort, our health care partners will emphasize people age 65 and older, essential workers such as first responders, K-12 schools and child care staff, and those who live or work in congregate settings such as food processing and manufacturing.

Before providing information on how vaccination will occur for each of these groups, I would like to take a moment to ask everyone to please, be patient during this process. We know that the demand for the vaccine is high, and there are a large number of people who would like to be vaccinated as soon as possible. However, at this time the vaccine supply, from the federal and state to the local level is very limited, and due to this shortage, not everyone who is eligible will be able to get the vaccine immediately. For example, the Black Hawk County vaccine allotment for the week of February 1st is 800 vaccines and we are allocating 700 of those doses to the age 65 and older group. However, the population of 65 and older people in the county that still need vaccination is approximately 20,000. As we move forward into the spring we are confident that this weekly allocation will grow, but the Health Department and our health care partners again ask that people please remain patient as we work in the coming weeks and months, to vaccinate Black Hawk County.

The Health Department continues to work to inform and update the public on the availability of vaccine. Recently we have added a vaccination page to the Black Hawk County COVID-19 website, www.blackhawkcovid19.com, and are creating a COVID-19 specific listserv where people can sign-up to receive updates on the vaccine availability and planning. Instructions on signing up for this listserv will be available next week.

As to vaccine planning for Phase 1B, the Black Hawk County Health Department is collaborating with MercyOne, UnityPoint, People’s Community Clinic, and independent health care providers to begin the process of offering community members age 65 and older appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine.These systems will begin contacting patients this week to arrange appointments, and ask that patients do not call to schedule their appointments or walk-in to request vaccine. Again, only a small amount of vaccine is available at this time and you may not be contacted right away, so we ask that people please remain patient. For those 65 and older that have no affiliation with a health care provider, please call the Black Hawk County Health Department 319-292-2360 for more information.

The Health Department continues to work with our health care partners to distribute the vaccine for health care providers; first responders, K-12 school and child care workers, and congregate settings.The Health Department is working to pair those businesses that have essential workers with our healthcare and pharmacy partners in order to complete their vaccination. In an effort to identify the remaining individuals in Phase 1A, and the essential worker groups in Phase 1B, a form has been added to the vaccine page of the www.blackhawkcovid19.com website. This form will allow businesses to submit information regarding their staff and will assist the Health Department in determining their qualification for vaccination under phase 1B. For any individual health care providers that have not been vaccinated yet, please call the health department at 319-292-2360 for more information on how to receive your vaccine.

Working through Phase 1B will require a large number of vaccines, it will take time, and again,we ask that people please be patient, and stay informed of our vaccination efforts. The Black Hawk County Health Department will continue to share updates through our Facebook page, www.blackhawkcovid19.com website, listserv, and television, print and radio outlets, as additional information becomes available. In the meantime, please continue to wear a face covering when you are not at home, practice social distancing, and stay home if you or someone in your home is sick.

For information and updates related to COVID-19, visit www.blackhawkcovid19.com and follow us on Facebook (@BlackHawkCountyHealthDepartment) and Twitter (@BHCHD).

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