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Advocacy groups and companies write letters to influence vaccine decisions in Iowa

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 7:28 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - About 60 different groups and companies wrote letters to influence vaccine decisions in Iowa.

States can make their own decisions on who is eligible for vaccinations, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes its own recommendations on who should be prioritized for the limited doses of vaccine available.

In Iowa, the Infectious Disease Advisory Council creates recommendations to the Iowa Department of Public Health director and medical director in developing COVID-19 vaccine distribution and therapy guidance. The council is made up of medical experts across Iowa.

The director of IDPH must approve of those recommendations. She can also reject or add to the recommendations. This occurred in Phase 1B when interim director Kelly Garcia expanded those eligible to receive the vaccine to government officials, health inspectors, and other groups of people.

Annelise Walsh, who is with JDRF Eastern Iowa, said her organization is one of the groups that tried to influence those decisions through a letter to influence vaccine decisions. She said the CDC’s current recommendations for Phase 1C only include those with Type 2 diabetes to receive the vaccine and is concerned the state will follow those guidelines.

“We’re very concerned that the CDC guidelines will be followed and type 1 diabetes will be excluded from that tier,” Walsh said.

The Dubuque County Public Health Incident Management Team also wrote a letter to IDAC to suggest prioritizing the Marshallese, Guatemalan, and the religious community population that does not meet the state regulations of a long-term care facility.

The effect of these letters is hard to determine because IDAC’s meetings are closed to the public. Although, occasionally IDPH does post meeting minutes and the agenda.

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