Some counties don’t know the amount of vaccine it received, or the workers it needs to vaccinate

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 10:00 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Linn County Public Health Department told TV9 it doesn’t know how many doses of the Covid-19 vaccine it received from the state.

The extra doses in vaccine vials, which are approved for use by the FDA, were not included in the original count of doses the county received. For example, Linn County was supposed to receive around 7,000 doses for people to use. But, the extra doses made that number higher.

Heather Meador, who is the clinical branch services supervisor for Linn County Public Health, said it’s something the county has to adapt to.

”Those doses we don’t have that information yet,” Meador said. “I don’t have a report from IRIS that they have that many more doses that have been given.”

Meador said the county is working with the state to gain that information. But, all of those extra doses have still been put in people’s arms.

Danielle Pettit-Majewski, who is the administrator at Washington County Public Health Department, said it’s probably true that it happened to more counties too.

“That’s pretty common with any vaccines, but the only difference is you typically have some preservatives,” Pettit-Majewski said. “Like let’s say in a flu viral where you have a longer period of time to pull from that vaccine than with this.”

The Iowa Department of Public Health released its’ first vaccine portal, which doesn’t contain information on the number of vaccines it received. The Center’s for Disease Control said the state received more than 200,875, as of Monday. Less than half of those doses have been put in arms. It’s likely the number of vaccines the state received is higher, therefore meaning even smaller proportions of vaccines are making it into arms.

The Washington County Public Health Department said only half of the vaccines it’s received have ended up in people’s arms. And the department doesn’t know the number of health care workers who need vaccines in their county.

“We have a list, like an appointment list so we know who’s coming in,” Pettit-Majewski said. “But to say that we have a database of every single person in our county would not be an accurate statement. So, we are collecting names and rosters of people from each clinic that would be eligible for the vaccine and wants it.”

Unlike Linn County, Washington County doesn’t have a registry list of healthcare workers and employers to link up with vaccine providers. Pettit-Majewski said her department doesn’t have the same resources to identify those people as Linn County. So, it takes them more time to set up appointments.

Those appointments then need to occur in groups of 10 to 12 people, so no vaccine is wasted. The state can’t move forward to vaccinate the next group until all healthcare workers are vaccinated.

The Iowa Department of Public Health didn’t return any of KCRG-TV9′s questions about the vaccine process in Iowa, as of publication on Monday.

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