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Low COVID-19 vaccine supply holds Linn County back from moving on to next phase of essential frontline workers

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 6:59 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Linn County received it’s first COVID-19 vaccines last month but there aren’t enough to go around, even for those first in line such as healthcare workers.

“We understand the frustration the vaccine rollout has caused for many people, we are frustrated as well,” says Heather Meador with Linn County Public Health.

She tells us the rate at which they get the vaccines is out of their control, but hospitals are administering them as soon as they arrive.

“I don’t want any vaccines sitting unused for any length of time in our freezer,” says Dr. Tony Myers with Mercy Medical Center.

There are between 20-30,000 healthcare workers in Linn County alone and they’re first in line along with those who work or live in long-term care facilities. This means people in the second group such as police officers, teachers and other frontline essential workers in phase 1b are going to have to remain patient.

“We acknowledge Linn County has a large healthcare workforce and it may take longer to arrive at phase 1b than nearby counties,” Meador says.

Linn County Public Health is getting guidance from the Infectious Disease Advisory Council to help determine the order in which vaccines are given in the county. They haven’t determined exactly what the order will be for those in phase 1b yet as they’re still working to finish vaccinating people in the first phase.

“We need those people, especially those high risk people to hang in there for a few more months until we can get the population vaccinated,” Dr. Myers says.

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