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People are crossing state borders to get the COVID-19 Vaccine

Published: Feb. 1, 2021 at 8:51 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Joel Miller drove for about an hour and a half through the rain to get to Moline, Illinois. There at a Hy-Vee, Miller had an appointment for a COVID-19 Vaccine.

Miller, who is the Linn County Auditor, is one of the thousands of Americans who have crossed state borders to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The trend is occurring because many states don’t require residency to get a vaccine and each state has different eligibility rules.

Illinois, like Iowa, is currently in phase 1B of its vaccination plan. But unlike Iowa, its guidelines for who is eligible are different.

People 65 years or older or any type of non-healthcare essential frontline worker is eligible for the vaccine in Illinois. Those eligibility guidelines are broader than Iowa, which is using a tiered system.

Iowa Phase 1B uses a tiered system
Iowa Phase 1B uses a tiered system(None)

Under that system, only some non-healthcare essential frontline workers can receive a vaccine in Iowa. So if a person in Iowa qualifies under the Illinois definition of eligibility they could jump the border to get vaccinated.

The same situation could occur in reverse. That’s because the Iowa Department of Public Health sent agencies a memo, which tells them to vaccinate people regardless of a permanent place of residence (county or state).

The memo also allows people undocumented to receive the vaccine.

Iowa has given around 13,000 doses to people not from Iowa. Although, those are likely health care workers who live in another state but work in Iowa.

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