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Iowa will require counties to use 80% of vaccine doses to receive their next shipment of vaccine

Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 7:26 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa Department of Public Health is moving to stop counties from hoarding doses and speed up administering the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s why it’s telling counties you won’t get more doses until you use what you have.

Our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative Unit learned the state will require counties to use 80% of the doses they received in the prior week before they will be eligible to get their next weekly allocation of vaccines. This threshold will go into effect Friday.

80% threshold metric
80% threshold metric(None)

The state told counties about the new threshold during a weekly webinar last week. The webinar was briefly posted on the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website as of Sunday night. But, it was removed by Monday morning. Multiple county health departments confirmed the new rule.

Currently, about 68% of doses shipped to Iowa have been injected into an arm. That’s one reason Iowa’s rate of vaccination is the fourth lowest in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Iowa Department of Public Health told us last week some counties are holding vaccines to administer them to groups of eligible Iowans at one time, like teachers. But it didn’t respond when we asked which specific counties are holding onto vaccines.

Every county health department, who got back to TV9, told us they are currently meeting this threshold.

On Monday, we asked the Iowa Department of Public Health how many counties aren’t meeting the 80% threshold and why the webinar was taken off the state’s website. The state sent us back a response on Tuesday, but didn’t answer those questions.

Sarah Ekstrand, who is a spokesperson for the state health department, told TV9 in an email the state will allow counties some grace in enforcing the 80% rule.

“If there are circumstances that clearly explain the shortfall and there are clear plans to achieve the 80% administration, the county may proceed with their strategy and will receive their planned allocation,” she said. “If there are no contributing circumstances to the delay in administration, the county’s allocation will be paused for one week, but they will receive their regular allocation the week following.”

Editor’s Note: The Iowa Department of Public Health responded to our request for comment after the story was published and changes were made to reflect it’s comments.

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