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Dubuque County begins preparations for COVID-19 vaccine distribution

The vaccine, however, might not be able to the general public until next year.
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 5:04 AM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Eastern Iowa health leaders are starting preparations for the first shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine.

At least one vaccine could get final approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as soon as next month.

Mary Rose Corrigan, public health specialist with the Dubuque County Public Health Department, said the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is instructing local counties to prepare for those first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, likely in November.

Corrigan said they expect to have a preliminary plan for distribution in the county by the first half of October.

Right now the county is enrolling health care providers to be able to provide the vaccine.

Corrigan said, at first, they will be receiving limited doses. Those will be based on availability nationwide and on what is allotted to Iowa.

The first doses, however, are going to essential, critical workforce, health care providers who provide direct care, and long-term care facilities.

“The general public should not stand in line waiting for a vaccine right away because the priority groups will take a while to get through and that will be based on the vaccine supply chain also,” she mentioned.

Corrigan said it could take months after those first shipments for vaccines to be available to the public.

She also said these vaccinations will require two doses, most likely either three or four weeks apart, so it is a two-step process to be fully vaccinated.

In regard to trials, Corrigan said she believes many of the phased trials will continue for periods after the vaccination is released.

“It is also important that we understand the efficacy of the vaccine and that is going to be changing as the trials continue,” she mentioned. “Other things to consider will be how well the side effects are known and the contraindications for receiving the vaccine, perhaps if the person has an underlying condition, allergy, etc.”

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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